Routine 1 : 1-Minute Power Aerobics
Choose a few favorite aerobic exercises and do each one for 60 seconds. Do a couple in a row on your break before you eat, or spread them out through the day for a little pick-me-up. These exercises generally work best if you have your own office or work in an environment where people won’t look at you funny for jumping around for a few minutes here and there! You can vary speed, intensity and switch up which exercises you utilize to change your office workout routine daily.
1. Laps: If you have a large office or an available empty room in the building, walk a few brisk laps around the room. This exercise can relieve stress and anxiety, and it’s a great way to start the day!
2. Lunges: Instead of a brisk walk, try doing walk-lunges to get a leg stretch in as well. This is especially beneficial if you’ve been sitting at your desk for a few hours!
3. Run-in-place: Not a lot of space? Run in place quickly for a minute, football-drill style! Or slow the pace a bit and lift the knees as high as possible.
4. Jumping Jacks: Quick, simple, invigorating…and you can do it anywhere! If you don’t want to work up a sweat in your business clothes, do a less vigorous version. Instead of jumping, simply tap one foot out to the side as you lift your arms; switch feet halfway through.
5. Jump Rope: Using a jump rope at work is probably not sensible, but you can do a jump rope simulation! Cross your arms, cross your feet, vary speed…anything you could do if you had a real jump rope in your hands!
Routine 2 : Office Yoga
Yoga can be very therapeutic as well as a great physical exercise! Also, yoga poses (asanas) are usually very discreet since yoga is a low-impact exercise. Try the following poses in the office or during a lunch break! Or, for those in food service and retail, try performing some standing poses in the bathroom or store room. Just a minute of some calming yoga can help relieve the stress of a busy day (or bring peace to the mind after an encounter with a particularly difficult customer). When performing yoga, always remember to breathe deeply and consistently throughout each pose. This office workout routine will stretch your muscles and increase blood flow and energy, while also relieving stress and calming the mind.
1. Standing Pose: Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana). Start by standing up straight, arms at your side and feet together. Swing your arms out from the sides, keeping them straight. Bring them up above the head, fingers pointing up at the ceiling. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Keeping arms up and legs stationary, bend at the waist on your left side and lower the upper torso down to the left, forming a crescent shape your body. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Come back to the Upward Salute for a breath, then repeat the crescent on the other side. Finish up by folding from the Upward Salute, touching the toes if possible.
2. Standing Pose: Tree Pose (Vrsksasana). Stand up straight, feet parallel and directly under the hips. Shift your weight to the left foot slightly, then inhale and lift the right feel, bending the knees and drawing the toes off the floor. Lift the foot up and place the right heel on your ankle, calf, mid thigh or upper thigh (based on restrictive clothing and ability), toes pointing down and knee pointing out to the right side away from the left leg. Keep your pelvis centered and back straight. Lift the hands up to chest and press the palms together in a prayer position. Keep them here or lift them up above the head. Hold this position for 10-30 seconds. Lower your arms and leg and repeat on the other side. If you have trouble staying balanced, perform the pose near a wall so you can steady yourself by placing the bent knee against the wall.
3. Seated Pose: Chair Twist. If you have a small chair with a solid back, use it instead of your computer chair. Sit on the edge of the chair sideways, left side facing the back of the chair. Feet and knees should be stationary, knees together and soles of the feet pressed against the floor. Turn slightly to the left to place both hands on the top of the chair, or if the top is too high grab the sides of the chair instead. Straighten the spine upward, exhaling as your twist to the left from the base of the spine. Use your hands as leverage, pushing with the left and pulling with the right. Perform as many times as you’d like, then switch and do the same number of repetitions on the right. If you’re using a computer chair with arms that’s opened at the bottom of the back, sit on the chair normally facing forward. Grab the back of the seat with your left hand and the front of the seat with your right, then twist from this position.
4. Seated Pose: Seated Hamstring Stretch. Sit near the edge of the chair, making sure there’s enough space in front of you to stretch your legs. Keeping the right leg neutral, extend the left leg out, straightening at the knee. Using a tie or scarf, loop it around the ball or arch of your foot and hold onto each end either hand. Pull the tie with both hands as you push your foot into the tie, pushing the heel toward the floor. If you don’t have a tie, just grab on the sides of the chair and push out through the heel to feel the stretch in the calves. Keep your spine long and lift the sternum upward. Keeping your back straight, bend forward slightly at the hips. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. You can also do this with both legs at the same time, with or without a tie or scarf.
5. Seated Pose: Head to Chair Pose. Sit in a wide-seated angle facing your chair, or with both legs together underneath the chair. Place your forehead on the chair, placing books on it if the seat is too low. There should be a gently curve along your spine. Place your arms on the chair seat, outstretched and relaxed. This pose is to relax the body and mind. To deepen the pose, move the chair and bend full over the legs, first on either side in a wide-angle and then forward with legs together.
Routine 3 : Water Bottle Weight-Lifting
Want to work on your muscles a bit on the clock? Weightlifting can be an invigorating workout; it gets the blood flowing which can help clear the mind and prepare you for the work day. Using just one water bottle or two water bottles of the same size, you can do a few quick arm exercises in the office! This is an innovative and inexpensive office workout routine that pumps you up mentally and physically.
1. Arm Lifts: If you only have one bottle, hold it in the right hand at your side. Bend the elbow, bringing the hand and water bottle up to the right shoulder. Continue to extend the arm up, leading with your hand. Hold for a second, then lower and repeat on the other side. Continue alternating, 15 times on both sides.
2. Arm Lifts 2: If you have two water bottles, try these other arm lifts! Hold a bottle in each hand, arms down at the sides, back and legs straight. Lift both arms directly up from the sides simultaneously until they are parallel to the floor, immediately lowering them back to your sides. Keep your muscles active even as you lower the arms. Repeat this action 10-15 times.
3. Lateral Raises: This one also requires two bottles. Stand with feet slightly apart, legs and back straight. Keep the ab muscles active and pulled in toward your back. Hold a bottle in each hand, arms comfortably at the sides, then bend the elbows and bring the hands up to the armpits. From here, lift up at the elbows from the sides to bring your bent arms parallel to the floor. Lower the elbows back down, repeating this action 10-15 times.
4. Bicep Curls: Sit tall on your chair, keeping the ab muscles active and pulled in toward your back. Hold your water bottle in your right hand, inside of the arm facing forward, and curl the water bottle up toward your shoulder by bending at the elbow. Do 10-15 reps, then switch arms and repeat for the same number of times. If you have two bottles, try doing another set of curls — this time simultaneously!
5. Tummy Twists: Hold one water bottle with both hands at the sternum. Keeping the legs stationary and spine long, twist the torso to the right as far as you can, hold for 1-2 breaths, then twist back to face forward. Repeat on the left. Perform this 10 times on each side, alternating after each one.
There are countless other exercises that you can do in the office, and any of these can be modified to better suit your needs, body and work environment!
Photo credit: forwardthinking.ashford.edu/