10 ways to exercise at work (yes, your home office counts too)

Do you spend so many hours a day sitting in front of the computer that you don't have time to hit the gym? You can still get in shape by working out at your own desk.

Unless you're a professional athlete, it's pretty rare to exercise on the job. In fact, you'll probably spend most of your day tied to a desk with your eyes on the screen, answering emails, checking your social networks and reading articles like this one. Then, a long way home and straight to hitting the couch for a marathon series. Sound familiar?

Modern life is designed for us to sit around all day, but a sedentary lifestyle and good health are not good friends. The World Health Organization attributes the lack of physical activity to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, not to mention constant back pain and overweight. A one-hour session at the gym each day can help reduce this risk, but not everyone has the time - or the willpower - to go there. If you're one of them, don't worry, because there's another option: working out at work. You only need your desk, your chair, and a few minutes a day to keep your body moving. Let's get in shape!

10 ways to exercise at work

Warm-up stretches

Before doing any intense exercise, it is crucial to stretch the muscles to prevent injury. In addition, these movements are useful even if you don't have time to continue with your workout, as they improve blood flow and release the mind from stress for a few minutes. Many can be done sitting down, but try getting up and you will feel much better.

  • Touch the ceiling: interlace your fingers and raise your arms as if you wanted to touch the ceiling with the palms of your hands. Hold the position for 10-15 seconds.
  • Shrugs: lift your shoulders up to your ears and circle back and forth repeatedly.
  • Open your chest: interlace your fingers behind your back and raise your arms as if reaching for something behind you. Hold the position for 10-15 seconds.
  • Grab your feet: stand up, bend your right knee back until your heel touches your buttock. Grasp your foot with your hand to hold the position. If you can't keep your balance, use your opposite hand to lean against the wall. Repeat with your left leg.
  • Hear yourself: tilt your head toward one shoulder and try to touch the floor with the opposite arm. The weight of your head will be enough to stretch. Repeat to the other side.
  • Look around: with your back in a straight position, look ahead and very slowly start turning your head to one side and the other. Then do the same looking up and down.
10 ways to exercise at work

10 best exercises to do at your desk

Once your body is ready, it's time to start moving for real. You may feel a little ridiculous at first, but soon everyone in the office will start to follow your lead.

  • Walk around the office: start with a walk for about 3-5 minutes. If space permits, turn up the intensity and start jogging. If you have stairs, go for them.
  • Squats: as simple as getting up from your chair and sitting down again with your back straight. Concentrate the effort on your thigh muscles.
  • Push-up: don't worry, you don't need to lie on the floor. You can do the same movement standing up with your arms resting on the edge of the table. Lean about 45º and push to return to the starting position.
  • Tricep dips: you'll need a chair with no wheels on it. Scoot to the front of the chair, with both hands facing forward. Place palms flat on the chair, bend your elbows straight back, and lower yourself straight down several inches, keeping your back as close to the chair as possible. Then straighten your arms to rise back to start.
  • Shoulder press: take something heavy –a water bottle, a thick book– and lift it with your arm extended sideways to shoulder height. Hold the position for a few seconds.
  • Jump rope: no need for a rope, let's pretend. With your feet together and your arms as if you had a rope, make short, fast jumps. You can try jumping with one foot to make it more intense.
  • Wall sit: stand with your back against the wall and slowly lower yourself into a seated position and hold for 10-30 seconds at a time.
  • Calf raises: stand up behind your chair and hold on for support. Raise your heels off the floor until you are standing on your toes. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor.
  • Glute squeeze: squeeze your glutes as hard as you can and hold for 10-30 seconds.
  • Lunge: with one leg in front of the other, gently lower the knee of your back leg down towards the ground and rise again slowly.

Performing all these exercises at work will take you no more than 30 minutes, and you will feel much more refreshed and energized when you finish. If you also need extra comfort, you can combine the exercise with one of the OSTRICHPILLOW products, with a versatile design that allows you to take breaks and short naps right at your desk. A well-deserved rest after all the effort.

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Photo by Annie Sprat on Unsplash
Photo by Scott Broome on Unsplash
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
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