A lack of time to exercise is one of the top reasons people don’t exercise. Whether or not this is a perceived lack of time or a real lack of time, squeezing exercise into an already busy schedule is a challenge, and a must. Regular exercise has a plethora of benefits, including increased strength, energy, weight loss, and, perhaps most important of all, an increased sense of happiness and well-being. When finding time to exercise is a scheduling nightmare, consider exercising where you spend most of your day: at work.
Sliding a powerful punch of strengthening and toning exercises into your day at the office (or at home) can get your heart pumping and muscles burning in a surprisingly short period of time. Here are five exercises to do, even at a desk job.
Squats work the quadriceps, buttocks, and hamstrings for toning and strengthening the legs. The lower you go, the more burn you will feel. For proper technique:
• keep knees pointed in line with the feet
• maintain excellent posture with shoulders in line with the hips, avoid letting your shoulders fall forwards
• hands can be on hips, folded in-front of your chest, or used to lightly support yourself on a supportive waist height surface, such as a desk
2. Standing leg lifts
Lightly support your balance by placing both hands on a desk, counter top, or other supportive surface. With a slow and steady motion, extend one leg behind you, squeezing the buttock, while raising your leg, and keeping the opposite leg firmly on the ground and the upper body upright. Try 10 leg lifts on one leg before switching sides. Repeat three times.
3. Sitting chair sit-ups
Using a stable chair (not an office chair on wheels) sit-ups can be performed to strengthen the core abdominal muscles and the side oblique muscles. To do this safely place hands on each side of the chair with the knees in a bent position. Slowly raise the bent knees up towards the chest. With a controlled motion, lower the feet back to the floor. To engage the side oblique muscles, point the bent knees towards the armpits when raising them. It will not take long to feel the burn!
4. Standing wall push-ups
Standing wall push-ups help strengthen the upper body and arms. The pectoral muscles, biceps, triceps, and even core muscles of the abdomen can all be strengthened using an old-fashioned push-up. To perform the standing wall push-up:
• stand with feet hip distance apart, approximately one foot from the wall
• place hands on the wall at level with the shoulders, keeping elbows slightly bent
• push up with a slow and controlled motion
• lower back to wall with same slow movement
5. Knee-up lunge
The knee-up lunge is really a total body burn. It works the abdominal core with the benefits of a squat to strengthen the buttocks, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Add a water bottle or any other light weight that can be comfortably held to include a bicep/tricep workout. The knee-up lunge is performed by:
• standing beside a desk or other firm supportive surface or chair back for support
• place the leg closest to the desk with the knee bent in-front of you, keeping the knee behind the toes
• extend the opposite leg backwards onto the floor with toes pointing forward in a lunge position
• bring the extended leg up in-front of you with the knee bent up to the chest, then lower back down behind you
• repeat 10 times on each side then switch sides, facing the opposite direction
Finding time to exercise can be challenging. However, if you don’t get your fitness routine in before going to work, don’t give up. There are plenty of ways to be creative at work to slide in 10 minutes of strengthening and toning. With any luck, you’ll inspire your colleagues to do just the same.
As with any new onset of exercise, first consult with your health care provider to ensure there are no concerns with particular activities.