Office Workout

Simple Exercises You Can Do Throughout The Work Day!

We know we need to fit more movement into our day but it can be a struggle!  The exercises below can be combined into a circuit (to be done all at once- lunch break) or you can incorporate them in small spurts, as time allows, throughout the day.

1. Stair climbing

Years ago I worked at our local hospital and let me tell you how many stairs you can find there!  OMG - a few of my work friends will remember this! Several lunch breaks were spent running, walking, and panting up and down stairs. This is such a great functional way to get your exercise in.  Stairs = GREAT CARDIO

Set a timer for as many minutes as you have (whether it’s two, five, or 10, it’s good for you) and take to the stairs. Bring a friend if you can- it makes it more fun and research shows you just might work a little harder with a buddy.

If you’re willing to get sweaty, run up and down as fast as you’re able. If you’re trying to avoid getting to0 sweaty (wrinkly work attire) you can still get your heart rate up by walking briskly up and down the stairs.

Bonus points = take stairs two at a time.

2. Pushups

If you have access to a desk or the floor, then you have can challenge your triceps, pecs, deltoids, and core. There are 3 basic push up variations that use different muscles. The difference is where you place your hands while in the plank position (option to do on your knees for a modified version). The closer your hands are together, the more you will engage your triceps. The wider apart they are, the more you will engage your chest.

  • Regular: your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders. This works your arms and chest.
  • Diamond: put your hands close together in a diamond shape, keep them directly under your chest. This will require you to engage your arms more than a standard push up.
  • Wide-arm: place your hands a good way’s out from your shoulders. This version works the chest most.

Pick your version and level and GO!   Imagine if you can do 15 pushups at a time 5x throughout your day.  THAT in total is 75 pushups…  It will add up to a stronger YOU!

3. Squats

A GREAT move to build some lower body strength!  You don’t need a big space just good form.  Protect your knees by making sure you know how to squat properly.  Your knees should not go over your toes.  Sit your bottom back, chest lifted and focus on engaging your glut muscles as you come up.   Here is a great link to be sure you're squatting correctly.  Squat 20x a few times throughout your day and over time you’ll have increased your lower body strength.

4. Planks and side planks

I have several moves that I swear by… Planking makes the top 3 of my favorite!  I believe it is the start to any fitness program.  It helps build full-body strength, functional fitness, and a toned core, back and butt!    The very cool thing about plank is that it requires no equipment beyond your own body.  No excuses to not plank– You can do them in the office or anywhere else.  You can follow this fun 4 minute plank challenge  video that my daughter, Emma and I made, or just rotate through a regular plank and side plank, holding each position for 30 seconds.  A modified version = On your knees!    

5. The “Silent Chair Burner”

This one will wake you up too!  I remember staring at Excel documents and sometimes nodding off. This one is a great move for those conference calls or long emails. While sitting on your chair, cross your legs so your feet rest under your ankles. Place your hands on the chair’s armrests (be sure they are sturdy/strong enough), engage your core, and lift the rest of your body a few inches off the chair. Hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds, rest, and then repeat 3-6 times. You’ll feel a good burn in your arms and core. It works like coffee - a little wake up too!

6. Wall sits

I remember these from grade school! No doubt that you have a wall somewhere nearby! Have some reading to do? A phone call to make? Find a wall…

Stand with your back against the wall sliding down the wall while bending your knees. Bring your thighs parallel to the floor and hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Remember to wiggle your toes and squeeze your glut (butt) muscles and don’t let your knees pass over your toes!

7. Lateral Movement

When you're standing at the copy machine, try a few lateral leg lifts. Balance on one leg and lift and lower the opposite leg laterally with control 10x.  Repeat on other side and try to get 3-4 sets a day in!  It adds up and just maybe this effort will help keep your hips and knees strong.  We tend to do most things in a forward or backward motion!  Read my post “Think Laterally” and start incorporating this theory into your life.

If you have time, try this 20 minute “move laterally workout” I made last summer!

NOW… Grab a post it note and write these exercises down, take a screen shot, or print a copy of this post. Your next work day can be more active!  Every move adds up. IT MATTERS and YOU will feel and do better.