How many hours a day do you spend sitting? Whether you’re gaming, freelancing or have a hardcore desk-bound job, you’re probably not moving enough.
Not everyone has the time or ability to leave everything for 2 hours and go for a run or a bike ride, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up. Staying fit at your desk is actually possible. Below you’ll find a collection of exercises anyone can do. Some don’t even require getting up, others take no longer than 10 minutes out of your daily routine.
Find some you can do. Find some you want to do. Don’t let your lifestyle be the boss!
Tap Your Feet
This is an exercise you can do without getting up, even while you’re working. Place your feet on the floor and start tapping them quickly, as if you’re running on the spot. You can start relatively slowly, and increase your speed as you go. You’d be surprised how quickly this little exercise will increase your heart rate. You may also feel your leg muscles, and you’ll definitely get your blood circulating better.
The only downside to this simple exercise is the noise it makes. Unless you work on a carpeted floor, your feet are going to create a good amount of noise, and co-workers sitting next to you may not appreciate it. One way to solve this is to get all your co-workers on board too. This way, you’re all tap-tapping at the same time, no one gets annoyed, and everyone gets to move a bit.
The Praying Position
Image via Yan Trokel
This is a great arm exercise you can do from anywhere. Yes, even during that long and boring office meeting you have to sit through. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor, and bring the palms of your hands together in front of your chest, as if you’re praying for something (like the meeting to be over). Now push your hands together as hard as you can. You’re going to feel the muscles in your arms working. Hold this for 10-20 seconds (or more if it feels easy), and release. Repeat the sequence several times.
A variety of this exercise is to hold your hands together tightly and try to pull them apart instead of pushing them together.
Are you hunched in front of your computer all day? Here’s a way to stretch your shoulders a little bit. Raise your shoulders upwards as if you’re shrugging and hold them there for a few seconds. Release, and repeat at least 15 times. Another good shoulder exercise is to roll back your shoulders until your shoulder blades are almost touching. Hold for several seconds, release, and repeat. I’ve read in several places that you can try to hold a pen between your shoulder blades as you do this, but I couldn’t do it to save my life.
Elbow To Knee
This exercise uses your hands as well, so you can’t do it while working or typing, but once you get used to it, you can definitely do it while reading from your screen. Sit up straight in your chair and place your hands on the sides of your head. The point of the exercise is to bring each elbow towards the opposite knee, working on your abdominal muscles. Start by twisting your body to the right, lifting your right leg and bringing your left elbow towards your knee. Hold this position for a second, and go back to sitting upright. Now do the same thing with the right elbow and left knee. Do this over and over again.
As long as you don’t have evil co-workers who’ll laugh at you (what they should be is jealous!), this is a great exercise for the office, as it doesn’t make any noise and doesn’t include very big movements.
The Wall Sit
Image via greatist.com
This one does require that you leave your chair, but we all do that every once in a while. This will be perfect if there’s a wall behind your desk. If not, you can find a different wall to lean on for a few minutes. Once you find a wall, pretend you’re sitting on a chair while leaning your back on the wall. Your feet should be placed away from the wall, your knees should be bent as if you’re sitting, and your buttocks should be in the air. Keep this up as long as you can. You can distract yourself by reading an important report or article while you “sit” there.
This is another perfect exercise you can do while you work, as it keeps your hands completely free. Sit straight in your chair, and keep your knees at a 90 degree angle. Now raise one foot off the floor and hold it in that position as long as you comfortably can (don’t kill yourself; you need to keep working while doing this!). Put your foot down and raise the other foot in the same way. After several repeats, you’ll definitely feel your hip muscles. Do this every day, and you’ll be strengthening your legs without leaving your desk.
If you’re looking for the perfect exercise for grouchy co-workers, this is it. It’s quite, it’s discreet, and there’s nothing in it that can disturb anyone.
If you find the above exercises too distracting or embarrassing, there’s something else you can do that’s almost invisible to anyone but you. Choose a muscle you want to work on (for example, your abdomen or your buttocks), squeeze it as hard as you can for 10-15 seconds, and release. Repeat this until you’ve had enough or set a number of repeats you want to do and do them.
This may seem like a worthless exercise, but believe me, it’s not. Try it.
The 7 Minute Workout [No Longer Available]
Do you work from home? If so, why not take a mere 7 minutes out of your day to exercise? The 7-minute workout page will take you through 12 sets of 30 seconds each, with 10-second stops for rest after each one. Each set is comprised of a different exercise, such as jumping jacks, abdominal crunches, step-ups on a chair, and more.
The website is very visual, with huge countdowns and illustrations of the exercise. It will take you through the routine by hand, and after only 7 minutes, you’ll know you’ve done something good for your body that day.
Other Ways To Stay Fit
The exercises above are a whole lot better than doing nothing, but there are other things you can do to keep healthy and fit. Take the stairs when you can, walk or bike to work if possible, drink plenty of water, and don’t be tempted by all the snacks in the kitchen. If you control your working environment, you may want to consider a standing desk.
If you’re the more visual type, you should check out these desk exercise videos. If these don’t get you moving, nothing will.
What do you do to keep yourself from going stale at your desk? Have any tips to share?