Easy Exercises You Can Do Without Leaving the Office

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Sitting at your desk for eight hours isn't exactly good for your health. Here are some easy exercises you can do right in your office, no special equipment required!

We all know that we should stay active, right? It’s good for our physique, but more importantly, it’s essential for our health.

From improving circulation to strengthening your heart, supporting a healthy metabolism to staving off health conditions, there’s a lot that a little exercise can do. On top of that, regular physical exercise can boost energy, help you sleep better at night, and improve your overall mood.

Okay, but where do you fit in a long workout routine? Trying to fit a workout into a busy schedule can be difficult, to say the least. And if you’re anything like me (and any number of other people out there), you spend eight hours a day at a desk. That’s eight hours of sitting hunched over a computer, with terrible posture. Eight hours of being completely inactive.

Instead of trying to hit the gym at an ungodly hour, why not try to fit in a few exercises without ever leaving the office? I’m not talking about lugging in a full set of weights into your cubicle or anything. I mean, you can do that, if that’s your thing. However, you can get a little physical activity in without a lot of extra effort.

What you really need are some simple exercises that don’t require equipment or a ton of space. And the best part? They will get your blood pumping without taking up a lot of time. You can sprinkle these in throughout the day when you have a few minutes between tasks, or you can do them all at once for a lunch break workout session. It will stimulate some blood flow and help you beat that mid-afternoon slump.

Check out these easy exercises you can do right in your office, no special equipment or skills required!

Tricep Dips

Glamour via GIPHY

What muscles you are working: triceps and chest

How to do it: You will need a chair that doesn’t move (no wheels!) for this one. Put your hands flat on the chair with fingers facing toward your body. Keep your feet on the ground with legs straight out in front of you. Use your arms to lower yourself until your upper arms are nearly parallel with the ground, and then return to the starting position. Repeat this move at least 10 times.

Seated Ab Twists

What muscles you are working: core, obliques, and abs

How to do it: Sit toward the front of your chair, away from the back with your feet flat on the floor. Put your hands behind your head. Lift one knee as you twist the opposite elbow down toward it, and then return to the starting position. Repeat this 10 to 20 times on one side, then repeat on the other side.

Russian Twists

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What muscles you are working: core, obliques, and abs

How to do it: For a more intensive move, try doing the traditional version of the seated ab twists: Russian twists. It will work your core even more. Sit on the floor instead of your chair with your legs out in front of you. Lean back slightly and lift your legs to form a V-like shape with your torso and legs, engaging your core. From here, twist your torso side to side without moving your legs.

Seated Leg Lifts

What muscles you are working: core, quads, and hip flexors

How to do it: Sit tall and straight in your chair with your knees together in front of you. Straighten one leg while leaving the other foot on the floor. Keep your abs tight as you lift the leg until your hamstring comes up off the seat, and then lower it back down to the seat again. Do this 20 times before returning your foot back down to the floor. Repeat on the other side.

Desk Push-Ups

What muscles you are working: triceps and chest

How to do it: Facing your desk, lean against the edge. You want to place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders with straight arms. Lower yourself like you would a traditional push-up until your chest almost reaches your desk. Return to the starting position, and repeat this at least 10 times. If your desk is too low or unstable for you to do this exercise, you can do wall push-ups instead.

Squats

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What muscles you are working: core, quads, glutes, and hamstrings

How to do it: Place your feet shoulder-width apart and stretch your hands out in front of you. Lower down like you are about to sit in your chair, keeping your knees in line with your toes. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat this 10 to 20 times.

Planks

What muscles you are working: whole body, especially core

How to do it: Begin face down with your hands and toes on the floor with your hands directly under your shoulders like you’re about to do a pushup. Push toes into the floor and squeeze your glutes to help stabilize your body and keep your abdominals engaged.

Make sure that you’re not sticking your hips up in the air and that your back is flat. Don’t look up or let your head drop, either, keeping your head and neck in line with your back. You want your whole body to look like a straight line. Oh, and don’t forget to breathe!

Side Leg Circles

The Standard Moves via GIPHY

What muscles you are working: lower abs, thighs, and glutes

How to do it: Lie on your right side with your knees straight, your upper right arm on the floor, and your head resting on your right hand. Raise your left leg several inches up in the air and make 10 small clockwise circles from the hip. Reverse the direction and do 10 counterclockwise circles and then lower your leg to starting position. Turn over onto your left side and repeat with your right leg.

Wall Sits

man doing wall sits in his office
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What muscles you are working: core, quads, glutes, and hamstrings

How to do it: Stand with your back facing the wall. With your back against the wall, slide down until your hips and needs are at 90-degree angles. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then slide back up to standing.

Lunges

woman exercising, doing lunges
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What muscles you are working: core, quads, and hamstrings

How to do it: Keep your upper body straight with your hands on your hips or together in front of you. Take a big step forward. Bend your front knee in line with your toes, dropping your back knee down toward the floor, in a lunge. Return to the start position and repeat this 10 to 20 times. Switch your front and back foot and repeat on the other side.

Jumping Jacks

What muscles you are working: whole body

How to do it: Yes, these are the same jumping jacks you did in gym class. Stand with your arms by your sides and feet shoulder-width apart. Jump up and land with your feet wider and your hands over your head. Jump again and return to the starting position. Repeat this move 10 to 20 times.

Don’t Forget to Stretch, Too

While you’re getting a little workout in while at the office, don’t forget about stretching. It is important to remember that stretching will keep your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy.

However, sitting at a desk all day presents its own set of problems: poor posture, repetitive motion, or staying in the same position for extended periods of time can cause or worsen discomfort and other health issues. Aside from the obvious neck and back pain, you’re looking at carpal tunnel, obesity, and musculoskeletal disorders.

Stop what you’re doing for 5 to 10 minutes for every hour you spend at your desk. Use that time to do a little light stretching. Here are a few easy ones for you to try!

Upper Body Stretch Up

woman stretching her arms while sitting at desk, work from home office
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How to do it: Clasp your hands together above your head with palms facing upward. Push arms up, stretching upward and straightening them above your head. Hold this for 30 seconds.

Overhead Reach Side Stretch

How to do it: Extend one arm up in the air overhead. Reach over to the other side, bending sideways at the waist. Hold this for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.

Hamstring Stretch

business man stretching his legs
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How to do it: While seated, extend one leg outward. While keeping it straight, reach toward your toes. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Neck Stretch

How to do it: While sitting up straight, relax and let your head drop forward. Slowly roll your head toward one side and hold for 10 seconds. Roll your head back down to the front and then roll toward the other side and hold for 10 seconds. Slowly roll back to the front again, before lifting your chin back up.

Tricep Stretch

person stretching triceps at desk
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How to do it: Raise one arm and bend it so that your hand reaches toward the other side and down. Use your other hand to help pull your elbow gently toward your head and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

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