Break the monotony of your workday and do your body a favor - take stretch or exercise breaks regularly and often when you are at work to keep your energy levels high and your mind and body sharp. As an added bonus you’ll find that your other workouts will go more smoothly, as your body is already used to a regular routine.
Stretching exercises help to keep you from getting stiff and encourage blood flow to the parts of the body that may have reduced circulation while you are sitting. Here are a few stretches you can try:
- Reach for the sky: This yoga-esque move involve reaching your arms (from a sitting positing), straight up to the sky and trying to touch the ceiling – relieving tension in your arms and shoulders.
- Neck stretch: Working at a desk all day can certainly lead to kinks in your neck, so gently touch your ears to each shoulder and hold for a few seconds to stretch it out.
- Yoga twist: Turn to your left (upper body only) and grab the back of your chair with your right hand to “pull” into this total-spine stretch, repeat on the other side.
- Shoulder blade squeeze: Imagine you are trying to hold a tennis ball between your shoulder blades; squeeze and hold for a few seconds, then release to relieve upper back tension.
- Hamstring stretch with foot on desk: From a standing position, place one foot on your desk and straighten both your legs, then reach for the foot on your desk to stretch the back of your leg. Repeat with the other leg.
Strength exercises keep you fit by targeting major muscle groups, so you don’t have to work as hard at the gym on your days off. Here are some suggestions:
- Squats: Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, bend your knees until your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle, then return to standing. This will work your glutes and quads.
- Standing leg lifts: Standing with your legs together, lift one leg and bend the knee, lower leg and repeat with the other side. This works your lateral leg muscles and hip area.
- Chair-arm lifts: Put your hands on your chair arms, push up until your arms are straight. Lower back down (don’t touch your bottom to the seat) and repeat. Works your tricep muscles (similar to pushups).
Cardio exercises are an excellent way to “wake up” while at work – rather than reaching for that afternoon cup of coffee or candy bar. Try these:
- One minute worth of jumping jacks: It’s easy and will get your blood pumping.
- Fake jump rope: Pretend you have a jump rope and go for it. If you’re wearing heels you may want to remove them.
- Shadow box: Find a quiet room and box for a while to get your arms warmed up.
- Conference-room laps or walk-lunges: See how many circuits you can complete in 5 minutes.
- Take the stairs: If you take the stairs a few times per day you can combine both cardio and strength workouts, as well as burning off some calories.
Are there any other office workouts you would recommend? We’d love to hear them! Photo: myyogaonline