No time to exercise? Weight piling on? As the British long hours culture sees us spending increasing hours at our desk, all too often, our gym membership becomes a fleeting phantom of our former good intentions. With siting declared to be the new smoking, it’s time to inject a little movement into the daily routine with these quick and easy ways to exercise at work – some of which can even be done sitting at your desk.
1)Standing meetings: if meetings are taking up too much time, a standing meeting could be just what’s needed to focus the mind. The act of standing burns approximately 50 calories an hour, which if done for three hours a day for five days, equates to a whopping 750 calories a week or eight pounds of fat over a year. With our tender, sedentary calves screaming after thirty minutes, you can make a triumphant return to your desk with a firm decision in double-quick time.
2)Discreet leg raises under the desk: The magic of this exercise is that it can be done completely unobtrusively under your desk. Raise one leg straight for fifteen seconds maximum and then alternate with the other. If you’re feeling daring, raise both at the same time. Rinse and repeat for five minutes. For the advanced, hook your handbag/ redundant gym bag over your leg for extra resistance training.
3)Lunch break stairclimbing: I discovered this little trick when looking for new ways to exercise at work for my first trek in September. Take ten minutes out of your lunch break to climb from reception to the top floor – in my case this is eleven flights. The challenge and feeling of achievement when reaching the summit more than makes up for the cringe factor of panting past colleagues on the way up. The corresponding endorphin rush also helps to banish post-lunch lethargy – transforming you into a powerhouse of productivity for the afternoon.
4)Working the room: research this week has highlighted that while sitting all day may not be the factor that chops two years from your life expectancy; lack of movement will. With this cheery nod to our mortality, make a rule to get up and walk once an hour. This could be to make a cup of tea, grab some water or talk to a colleague in person rather than by phone or e-mail. If the colleague’s located on a different floor, you can also incorporate stair-climbing into it. The act of being seen more frequently around the building will also help raise your profile. You can also complement this activity with mindfulness walking in your lunch break.
5)Muscle clenching at your desk: This is another sneaky number you can do at your desk without others being aware of it. From your feet, clench each muscle group for ten to fifteen seconds each, working your way up as far as your neck. This exercise not only provides a quick work-out for the muscle groups but also helps to relax muscles that may have been tensed through stress and anxiety during the day.
How do you exercise at work?, please share your own ideas and experiences.