When the mid-day slump strikes, it's unlikely that you'll be willing to get up out of your office chair and do a set of burpees in the hallway. Getting a little fitness routine in, however, can help give you a boost of energy.
Try these subtle exercises you can do at your desk without announcing your workout to your coworkers.
1.) The Wall Sit
A wall sit is perfect for silently building strength and endurance. Try it against any open wall. Stand with your back against the wall, bend your knees and slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for 60 seconds, or as long as you can. Wall sit while reviewing work documents for some healthy multi-tasking.
2.) The Magic Carpet Ride
If you have a sturdy workout chair, this is an excellent exercise for your arms and core. Sit cross-legged in your chair, with your feet on the seat. Place your hands on the arm rests, suck in your stomach and raise yourself a few inches off of the seat. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, using your core, hands and arms to maintain the position. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat five times.
3.) The Seated Reverse Crunch
I find these to be a bit easier than traditional crunches. Scoot forward towards the edge of your office chair and place your hands on the arm rests. Keeping your back straight, bring your knees together and slowly pull them off of the ground, bringing them as close to your chest as you can. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly bring your feet back down to the ground. Repeat as many reps as you'd like!
4.) The Seated Leg Raise
If your office has an open layout, this exercise can be a go-to move. While in your office chair, simply straighten out one or both legs and hold it in place for five or more seconds. Lower your leg(s) without letting your feet touch the floor. Repeat for 15 reps, alternating back and forth. Bonus move: Add weight by throwing your briefcase or purse strap over your ankle.
5.) The Office Chair Dip
Using a sturdy office chair or the edge of your desk, sit/stand with your back to it. Place your hands on either side of your body, gripping the arm rests or the edge of the desk behind you. Plant your feet firmly on the floor, a step or two away, then straighten your arms to lift up your body. Next, bend your arms at a 90-degree angle so your body dips down (a tricep dip, for all of you exercise experts!) and hold, then re-straighten while keeping your body raised above the chair. Do 10 reps.
6.) The Bicep Curl
Using a heavy stapler, three-hole punch or filled water bottle, work your biceps with this basic move. While seated (or standing, if you want), take the object in one hand and hold it with your palm facing upwards. Starting at your thighs, bend your elbow and curl your arm up towards your chest as if it was a dumbbell. Pause, then lower the object back down. Do 15 reps and then switch sides.
7.) The Desk Pushup
This is essentially a slanted pushup. Begin in an inclined plank position with your hands on your desk and feet on the floor, tilting forward. Lower your body down to your desk until your chest touches the edge, then push yourself back up to your starting position.
8.) The Heel Raise
Stand up (or sit tall) with your feet flat on the ground. Slowly lift your heels off of the floor as high as you can until you are on the balls of your feet. Repeat 30 times, then do one set of 15 on the left and another set of 15 on the right. This will help strengthen calf muscles and avoid the achy, tight feeling in your ankles at the end of the day.
While most of these are active exercises, keep in mind that simple stretches are also very beneficial for anyone who is stuck in a desk chair all day. Other easy ways to incorporate a little extra movement include taking the stairs, trying a walking meeting, and/or implementing some active design suggestions, which often lead to great benefits for little to no cost.
Would you try any of these moves at your desk? Let us know in the comments below.