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Let’s face it, most of us spend the majority of our day sitting at a desk. Whether you’re in an office, working from home, or attending virtual meetings, it’s easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle. This lack of physical activity can lead to various health problems, including weight gain, back pain, and poor circulation.
However, you can break this cycle by incorporating office workouts into your routine. In this guide, we’ll go over the benefits of office workouts and provide you with tips and exercises to help you get started.
Why Do We Need Workouts?
Office workouts are an excellent way to incorporate exercise into your busy workday. Not only can they help you stay in shape, but they can also boost your productivity and overall well-being.
According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical inactivities such as sitting for prolonged periods are associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. In other words, staying seated for long periods of time can be detrimental to your health. This is where office workouts come in.
Before starting any exercise routine, it’s important to take some safety precautions.
- Consult with your doctor. This is especially important if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Your doctor can give you guidance on the type and intensity of exercises that are safe for you.
- Wear comfortable and appropriate workout clothes. You don’t need to wear a full gym outfit, but you should choose clothing that allows you to move comfortably. Avoid wearing tight or restrictive clothing that can interfere with your movements.
- Make sure you have the necessary equipment for your exercises. This can include resistance bands, dumbbells, or even a yoga mat. Having the right equipment can help you perform exercises with proper form and reduce the risk of injury.
- Plan your routine. Setting a goal for your workouts is a good starting point. Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, or simply stay active during the day, having a clear objective will help you stay focused and motivated.
- Determine the best time to exercise. Some people prefer to work out in the morning before they start their workday, while others prefer to exercise during their lunch break or at the end of the day. Choose a time that works best for you and stick to it.
Basic Office Exercises
Now that you have your plan in place, it’s time to start working out! If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start with simple exercises that won’t strain your muscles or cause injury. These exercises can be done using your desk, chair, or the small space around your workspace, and can be done without any equipment. Let’s dive into some office-friendly exercises.
Physical exercises that can be done at or near your desk while you work, to help improve your overall health and fitness.
- Leg raises: Sit up straight in your chair and extend one leg out in front of you. Hold for a few seconds and then lower your leg. Repeat with the other leg.
- Arm circles: Sit up straight in your chair and extend your arms out to the sides. Make small circles with your arms, gradually increasing the size of the circles.
- Chair squats: Stand in front of your chair and slowly lower your body down into a squatting position. Pause and then slowly rise back up.
Exercises that can be done while sitting in a chair can help improve mobility, flexibility, and strength for those who may be less mobile.
- Tricep dips: Sit on the edge of your chair and place your hands on the armrests. Slowly lower your body down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Push back up to the starting position.
- Knee raises: Sit up straight in your chair and place your hands on the armrests. Lift your knees up towards your chest, hold for a few seconds, and then lower back down.
Stretches or Flexibility Exercises
Flexibility exercises can improve your range of motion, prevent injury, and help you feel more relaxed.
- Neck stretch: Tilt your head to the left and hold for a few seconds. Repeat on the right side.
- Shoulder stretch: Reach one arm across your chest and hold it with your other arm. Hold for a few seconds and then switch sides.
- Hamstring stretch: Sit on the edge of your chair and extend one leg out in front of you. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold for a few seconds and then switch sides.
- Yoga poses: Downward dog, child’s pose, and seated forward bend are all yoga poses that can be done at your desk.
Cardio workouts are designed to increase heart rate and blood flow and help improve cardiovascular health and overall fitness.
- Walking in place: Stand up and walk in place for a few minutes. You can increase the intensity by adding knee lifts or arm circles.
- Jumping jacks: Stand up and do a few jumping jacks. If you have low ceilings, you can modify the exercise by doing half-jacks or stepping out to the side.
Strength exercises are an effective way to build muscle and improve overall fitness. The good news is that you don’t need any equipment to do these exercises in the office.
- Push-ups: Place your hands on your desk, shoulder-width apart, and your feet on the floor. Lower your body until your chest touches the desk, then push back up to the starting position.
- Squats: Stand up straight, then lower your body as if you’re sitting in a chair. Keep your back straight, and your knees over your toes. Return to the starting position, and repeat.
- Lunges: Step forward with one foot, lowering your body until your back knee touches the ground. Push back up to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.
Breathing exercises can help you reduce stress, increase relaxation, and improve your focus.
- Deep breathing: Sit up straight, close your eyes, and take a deep breath through your nose. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeat for a few minutes.
Sample Office Workout Routines
Now that you have a few exercises to try, let’s put them together into a workout routine. The length of your workout will depend on your schedule and fitness level. Here are a few sample routines to get you started:
5-minute Workout Routine
|Walking in Place||30 sec||15 sec|
|Arm Circles||30 sec||15 sec|
|Chair Squats||30 sec||30 sec|
|Tricep Dips||30 sec||15 sec|
|Knee Raises||30 sec||15 sec|
|Jumping Jacks||30 sec||30 sec|
10-minute Workout Routine
|Walking in Place||40 sec||20 sec|
|Arm Circles||40 sec||20 sec|
|Chair Squats||40 sec||20 sec|
|Tricep Dips||40 sec||20 sec|
|Leg Raises||40 sec||20 sec|
|Knee Raises||40 sec||20 sec|
|Neck Stretches||40 sec||20 sec|
|Shoulder Stretch||40 sec||20 sec|
|Hamstring Stretch||40 sec||20 sec|
|Jumping Jacks||40 sec||20 sec|
Office Workout Tips for Success
Pay attention to proper technique and form. Poor technique and form can lead to injuries and be counterproductive to your fitness goals. Proper alignment of the spine and posture is crucial to avoid back pain and other musculoskeletal issues.
For example, when doing squats or lunges, make sure that your knees are not going past your toes, and your back is straight. For push-ups, ensure that your hands are shoulder-width apart, and your elbows are tucked in close to your body. Take the time to learn the proper form for each exercise and focus on maintaining good posture throughout your workout.
Here are a few more tips to help you make the most of your office workouts:
1. Set a schedule: Just like any other appointment or meeting, schedule your workouts in your calendar to ensure you stick to them.
2. Start small: If you’re new to exercise, start with shorter workouts and gradually increase the length and intensity over time. Don’t try to do too much too soon.
3. Take breaks: Even if you’re only able to do a few minutes of exercise at a time, taking regular breaks throughout the day can add up to a significant amount of physical activity.
4. Get a buddy: Having an accountability partner can help you stay motivated and on track with your workouts.
5. Get techy: Try setting reminders on your phone, using a fitness app, or listening to music to keep you energized during your workout.
6. Mind your diet: Incorporating healthy eating habits is also important for achieving your fitness goals. Try packing healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts to help you avoid unhealthy snacks.
7. Track your progress: Celebrating milestones can also help you stay motivated. Consider using a fitness tracker or journal to keep track of your progress and celebrate your successes along the way.
8. Have fun: Exercise doesn’t have to be boring or tedious. Choose activities that you enjoy and that fit your personality and fitness level.
The benefits of office workouts are clear. In addition to reducing the risks of chronic diseases and improving overall health, incorporating physical activity into your workday can also lead to increased productivity, focus, and creativity. So why not give office workouts a try? Your body and mind will thank you for it.
With a little bit of creativity and the exercises and tips provided in this guide, you can turn your sedentary workday into an opportunity to improve your overall health and well-being. As always, remember to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, wear comfortable clothing, and have fun!