While certain jobs require plenty of physical movement, there are other that call for hours upon hours of sitting. After numerous hours at the office and even more stuck in traffic or on public transit, finding time to make it to the gym can be difficult. But you can get healthier without making radical life changes. While standing desks are becoming more popular in the workforce, standing all day can also impact your health negatively. The most important thing you can do in the office is get up and move. Take a walk around the office, go walk up and down the stairs or take a few moments to stretch – all that matters is that you’re moving. We at Ebates have compiled 18 exercises you can easily do at your desk and incorporate into your daily routine.
Practice Perfect Posture
Having safe and comfortable desk ergonomics is key if you’re sitting multiple hours a day. Adjust your chair height to make sure the feet, hips and arms are at 90-degree angles to the floor. Don’t slouch! Engage your core and keep your back straight throughout the day.
Take the Stairs
Avoid the uncomfortable elevator small talk and take the stairs. This will easily elevate your heart rate. Take two at a time every other flight if you’re looking for a real challenge.
Suitable for dress shirts and skirts alike, stand one to two feet from a wall, lean forward until the palms are flush agains the wall with your arms straight and parallel to the ground. Bend the elbows to bring your body towards the wall, hold for three seconds, then push back to your original position. Do this for 10-15 reps.
If you’ve got some pent up frustration, take it out by shadow boxing. Stand up and throw a few jabs, hooks and uppercuts in rapid succession, trying not to hit your coworker or computer screen. Continue for 60 seconds or longer if you really need to blow off some steam.
The easiest and maybe most rewarding exercise you can do is to simply walk around your office. Take a stroll to say hi to Will in accounting or welcome the newest intern. Or wander over to a colleague’s desk instead of sending an email to get in some face time while also benefiting your health. Just don’t go over to Pam’s desk. She always has a full candy jar.
Desk Chair Swivels
If you have a swivel chair, have some fun with it! Sit upright with your feet hovering over the floor and hold onto the edge of your desk with your fingers and thumb. Use your core to swivel the chair side to side. Continue for 15-30 seconds.
If you enjoy doing yoga, taking the time to incorporate some of your favorite poses throughout the day is a great way to get out of your chair and stretch. It’s easy to stand up and practice a forward fold or balance in tree pose. Or stay seated and stretch into a backbend or twist.
Work out your traps by rolling your shoulders back until the shoulder blades are pinched together. Pretend you’re holding a pencil between them and hold for up to 10 seconds. Release and repeat for 10-15 reps.
Take a little break from sitting at your desk and writing email after email to jog in place for one minute. Pick up your knees for more of a burn. Write a few more emails and repeat.
Build up some strength and endurance with wall sits. Place your back against a wall, bend your knees and slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Sit and hold for a least 30 seconds, eventually pushing yourself to 60 seconds or more. You can even browse your phone reading articles or playing games during this one.
If you use a standing desk, you’re already burning more calories, but add a squat for even more of a burn. Stand with your feet together and bend your knees so the thighs are almost parallel to the ground, as if you are sitting. While bending, raise your arms either straight up or towards the computer screen. Hold the squat for 15 seconds. Repeat for 5 reps.
Seated Leg Raises
These leg raises can be done at your desk and are hardly noticeable. While seated, straighten either one or both of your legs and hold in place for at least five seconds, if not longer. The lower your leg(s) back to the ground, but do not let your feet touch the floor. Repeat, while alternating if you’re doing one leg at a time, for 15 reps. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, loop a purse strap over your ankle for added weight.
Test out your shoulder shrugs simply by raising both shoulders toward your ears, hold for 5 seconds and release. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Just make sure you’re not in a meeting while doing this one!
Waiting at the water cooler or for the printer? Take this time to sculpt your calves with calf raises. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, press up onto the tips of your toes, pause at the top for a moment then lower back down. Do 12-15 of these for three sets, or whenever the printer is done with your job.
Pump it up in the office and tone your arms at the same time. Fist punch straight into the air and alternate for at least 60 seconds. Play “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor–guaranteed to burn even more calories!
Similar to dumbbell curls, stapler curls are very simple to do while reading emails. Take your stapler, preferably a red Swingline, and place in one hand with the palm facing upwards. Starting at your thighs, bend the elbow and curl the arm upwards to the chest. Pause for a moment and then lower your arm back down. Continue for 10-15 reps and switch sides. This exercise can also be done with a filled water bottle.
While this one doesn’t exactly get you up out of your seat, it’s great for a boost of energy and is downright fun! Throw on a favorite tune (via your headphones) and just go to town with a bit of seated dancing. Whether you want to shake your booty to some hip hop or do a little tango or salsa, this one will get your energy going when no on is looking (or is and wants to join in!)
Prices and Cash Back percentages are subject to change.