Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stay Active: Workouts for the Office

Written by Lauren Lind

Sitting at a desk eight hours out of the day can lead to increased strain on your back, wrists, eyes and neck, and can result in a general loss of muscle tone. There is also much weight gain that can occur because office spaces are set up to require little movement. While recovering from the damage done during Thanksgiving, I gathered some exercises that you can do at the office to help keep you active and combat the holiday weight gain. Fitting in a little exercise each day improves concentration and actually makes you more productive. Here is a great office workout from

Stretching regularly - walk around the office for about 3-5 minutes. Get some water, go to the bathroom, etc. Take a few minutes to get up and get away from your desk.

Five Key Stretches(do stretches for 15-30 seconds)
1) Neck Stretches - Slowly tilt your head toward your shoulder and hold for ten seconds each side. Keep this one slow and easy, the neck is very easy to injure. 

2) Arm/Shoulders - Pull your arm across your chest, hook your other arm around it to pull the tension out of your upper back and rear shoulders. 

3) Back / Legs - Lean forward at the waist either from the standing position or sitting and bring your chest toward your thighs. Slowly try to straighten your legs by stretching your hamstrings. 

4) Thigh Stretch - Sit on left edge of your chair or stand. Grab your left ankle and pull it upward toward your buttocks. Switch sides. 

5) Calf Stretches - Stand and lean into your desk with your heels on the floor. Bend your knees slightly to stretch your Achilles tendons. 

Five Key Exercises

1)   Leg Squats - Stand in front of your chair and repeat sitting down and standing up 10 times three times a day. 

 2)   Shoulder Shrugs - Just pull your shoulders as high as you can and roll them forward ten times and backward ten times throughout the day. 

 3)   Dumbbell Curls - While on the phone, you can grab a dumbbell and do bicep curls for 20 repetitions three times a day. Straighten your arms by your side and bring your hand (dumbbell) to your shoulder. Keep your palms up. Do one at a time if on the phone. 

 4)   Bench Dips - Using your chair or sturdy table, place your hands on the edge of the object and bend your arms to slowly lower yourself about six inches lower than the seat. Raise yourself by straightening your arms. Repeat this three times a day for 10 repetitions. 

5)   Assisted Push-up - In the office, lean up against your desk and push yourself away from the desk while in a leaning position. Repeat this three times a day for 10 repetitions.

For more great office workouts check out 10 Office Exercises You Can Do Secretly, A workout at work?, and Exercise at Your Desk.  Also be sure to check out this 15-Minute Desk Workout video specifically designed for the office!

Hat tip: Stew Smith with, Jodie Schneider with Discovery Fit &Health,  Christian Torres with The Washington Post , Jean Lawrence with WebMD, and Nicole Nichols with SparkPeople Videos