Exercising is hard to squeeze in. Some of us just aren’t morning people, and find it absurd to get out of bed any earlier than we need to, making it physically impossible to get up and work out.
Then in the afternoons the littlest thoughts can demotivate you from going to the gym. If you’re hungry you may want to go on home and eat, instead of dealing with the hassle of finding parking at the gym, changing into workout clothes, and doing your full routine.
This can cause you to get home an hour and a half to two hours later. If the weather is bad, if it’s cold and gets dark early in the winter, or if you’ve had a rough day, trudging to the gym might be the last thing you want to do.
However, don’t lose hope. If it seems impossible to get to the gym or workout at home simply try doing a few exercises at your desk and around the office. You’ll be amazed at how a few easy workouts can improve your mood and energy.
The Benefits of Working out at Your Desk
Moving around a little at your desk gets your blood flowing, and with increased circulation comes more energy. Every time you feel yourself starting to fall into a zombie-like state of exhaustion, or start to uncontrollably yawn, don’t run to the coffee pot, move a little instead to naturally wake up.
When you have blood flowing it will eventually reach your brain, which is good because it will help you get past writer’s block and motivate you to finish boring assignments that seem to drag on and on. Your creativity will be boosted and as exercising clears your mind the answer to a problem you’ve been trying to solve may pop into your brain.
Exercising also reduces stress and boosts the immune system, so you’ll have a better, more relaxed attitude and a stronger defense to the illnesses bouncing around the office. Best of all, depending on your moral compass, exercising may take the guilt away from eating that donut in the break room.
So, to get you more energized and awake let’s take a look at a few office activities that can be easily accomplished.
First things first, get moving. Take a walk, either on your lunch break or during a small break. Get up out of your chair to walk outside or do a few laps around the office. Instead of sending an instant message or email to the person a few cubicles down hoof it on over to them.
Also, avoid the elevator. Using the stairs can help you burn extra calories, especially when you get daring and walk up two stairs at a time. If your building has multiple levels maybe you can adventure up a few flights to check out restrooms on different floors.
Get pumped up by dropping a few squats. The act of dropping your midsection low and standing up straight again is great for your legs and core, especially when you don’t feel like roaming around. If you don’t want anyone in the office to watch you squatting go to the bathroom for a few minutes to workout with privacy.
Working The Lower Body
Let’s work those legs from your glutes to your toes! First, with your feet planted on the ground raise your toes up to the ceiling while keeping your heels on the floor. After about 10 to 15 reps, you’ll notice a burn under your knees and around the calves, as your leg muscles and ankles strengthen.
You can also lift your legs off the ground and draw circles with your toes. Do ten reps clockwise, and 10 reps counter clockwise.
Next, while still sitting in your chair stick your leg straight out with your toes facing the ceiling and move your foot towards yourself and away from yourself. As your foot moves back and forth you’ll notice a burn in your hips and calves. Be sure to switch legs after about 10 reps.
Also, while keeping your legs straight lift them up as high as they can reach, and down until they almost touch the ground to really work your thighs. To switch things up, you can do leg raises with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle too.
To tighten that booty, do just that, tighten it. Clinch together and hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds at a time. Before you know it you’ll have firm, lifted tush to be proud of.
Last but not least, stand up for some heel raises. With your feet planted firmly on a flat surface raise your heels up and down. This process can be done anywhere, by your desk, while talking to a coworker, or even in a conference room while waiting for a meeting to start. Plus, it’s a great way to work the calves and glutes.
Building the Upper Body
To build your core take slow, deep breaths while holding your abs tight and pulling your belly button inwards. Make sure to keep tightening your abs as you exhale and try to hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds at first. Add a few extra seconds over time.
Hold on to your desk and twist back and forth from side to side while sitting still in your chair to strengthen the sides of your stomach and obliques. You can also do the same motion while holding a water bottle.
Tone your biceps by picking up an object from around the office like a stapler and curl them. Even though these objects aren’t heavy just doing the motions can build strength and endurance. Also, you can do push-ups against the wall to work your arm and chest muscles.
The triceps dip is a favorite among workout enthusiasts with little time, because you simply need to find a desk and stand backward towards it, with your palms face down to hold you up. Then either at an angle support your weight with your arms and move up and down. This is a more serious workout that should be done with a stationary item. Avoid using rolling chairs!
An easy way to work on your back and shoulder is to push your shoulders back and push your shoulder blades together. Some experts suggest pretending that you’re holding a pen. Hold the pose for about 10 to 15 seconds at a time. This exercise is one of our favorites because along with building strength it also improves posture.
Then lift your shoulders up one at a time and hold them near your ears. You’ll be surprised at how strenuous this activity can be! Start off small by only holding them up for about 10 seconds and add more time as you become stronger.
Work it, Work it!
Even if you don’t have time or feel motivated to hit the gym, you can still squeeze in a few exercises here and there at your desk. They may not make up for a full–on gym session, but they will burn calories, and give you more energy to make it through the afternoon slump. It could also clear your mind and give you a fresh perspective on a project you’ve been stuck on for a while. Be sure to share how you work out at or around your desk in the comment section below.
Allison Barfield is a content writer for Span Enterprises and has been writing since she first learned to hold a pencil, shortly after birth. After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a B.A. in media arts she fell in love with marketing. She's been copy writing and managing multiple blogs ever since.