For many of us, returning to the office (or classroom) means that our routines are once again shifting. Helping kids with their homework, taking care of pets, cooking dinner, and commuting are once again part of our daily routine, and for most people, that leaves little to no time to get that workout in.
Sure, you could wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning to hit the gym before you shower and leave for work, but that isn’t always feasible - that’s why we’ve put together this list of simple yet effective exercises you can do at your desk:
Before you get started with any exercise, make sure you get rid of some of the tension that’s accumulated from hours of sitting at your desk with some neck and shoulder stretches. If you don’t have time for anything else, take a few minutes throughout the day to complete these stretches, as they will allow you to avoid any headaches or neck pain later in the evening by taking the strain off your muscles. Despite how simple these moves seem, they are very effective and involve no pain. Just drop your chin, roll your head around, roll your shoulders both ways, and stretch your arms over your head, gently bending side to side.
2. High Knees
Cardio isa great way to get your blood going! Stand up from your desk and try to get your knees as high as you possibly can. This exercise is similar to running in place, but you’re focusing on bringing your knees high. You can use your hands and tap the palms with your knees to ensure you’re doing the exercise correctly. Try going for three sets of 20 repetitions first. You can also use this quick exercise as a way to warm up before another workout too.
3. Chair Dips
Bodyweight exercises, like chair dips, are effective and simple to incorporate into your workplace workout. The best part is, chair dips can be done anywhere! You can also make things more or less challenging by trying a variety of modifications. To try this exercise at the office, you simply need a sturdy chair or bench. A staircase or other stable elevated surface may also work in a pinch. Sit on your chosen surface with your arms at your side and your feet flat on the floor, hip-distance apart. Position your hands so that your palms are down beside your hips. Your fingers should grip the front of the chair. Then move your torso forward off the chair with your arms extended. Your buttocks should hover over the floor, and your knees should be slightly bent. Your heels should touch the floor a few inches in front of your knees. Lower your body, hinging at the elbows until each forms a 90-degree angle, then slowly push back up to your starting position with your arms fully extended.
4. Shadow Boxing
If you have ever tried a Jillian Michaels or p90x workout video, you know shadow boxing is a go-to for trainers everywhere. It is an excellent way to get your heart rate up and get some light cardio in without straining your knees. It can also function as a great stress reliever if the workday is a particularly frustrating one. First, raise your fists up in front of your face in a boxing position — maintaining a safe distance from coworkers and computers, of course, then punch your fists forward in the air as if you are using a punching bag, switching back and forth from right arm to the left.
5. Calf Raises
Use water bottles for extra weight or lean on a chair or wall for more stability. Have your hands by your side, lift up to the balls of your feet, go down, lift again, and repeat this process while keeping your core tight. Stay nice and tall without rounding. Maintain all positions for two or three seconds. Go for two to three sets of 12 to 15 reps or until you start feeling the burn.
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