Easy Exercises for the Workplace
By acac Personal Trainer, Margreta Rempert
As a trainer for more than 10 years, I have found that TIME is the number one reason clients find it hard to exercise. Whether it’s time commitments from work or family, there are often factors that interfere with my clients’ intention to hit the gym. The reduced physical activity caused by sitting all day at work may potentially impact your health and wellbeing both in the short and long term, so it is important to keep regular physical activity part of our routine–even when life gets in the way.
Sitting all day can cause health effects, including:
• Lower back pain caused by shortening of the muscles in the hip, back, and legs
• Reduced heart and lung capacity, increasing the risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol
• Increased risk for type 2 diabetes or other metabolic diseases and cancers
• Reduced metabolism resulting in weight gain
When our muscles in our back, hips, and legs become shortened, they can’t fire correctly for day to day activities like mowing the lawn, gardening, house chores or recreational activities like running, walking, and exercise. This also leaves the body more prone to injuries in the hip area including sprains, strains more commonly referred to as “throwing the back out.”
High cholesterol, high blood pressure (hypertension), or type 2 diabetes have large medical costs associated with them over the long term. Exercise is one of the best preventative medicines for them and is much more affordable. Exercise not only can prevent these, but in some cases may also help to reverse the effects, reducing the number of prescriptions that an individual may need.
On days you can’t get to the gym, have you tried working out at work?
No? It’s easier than you think and I’ve been there. For almost as long as I have been a trainer, I have also held an “office” job, one that sometimes prevented me from getting to the gym for my own workouts. My coworkers would see me doing something to stay active and keep my body healthy as they walked by my cubicle. Try to incorporate exercise and movement throughout your workday. Set a timer for every 30 minutes to get up, move, or exercise for a few minutes, then dive right back into your work. You’ll find your attention and productivity improves. I found even when I was pressed for a deadline, taking a few minutes for myself cleared my mind, refocused my attention and my improved the quality of my work.
Here are a few of the quick and easy exercises you can do from your office (or cubicle) to stay healthy when life gets busy:
- Office Chair Single Leg Sit to Stand
- Description: Start seated on a chair (preferably one without wheels), while keeping one leg off the floor, stand up on the other leg without the free leg touching. Return to sitting without lowering the free leg. Repeat 8-12 times per leg, 1-3 sets per leg.
- Body Weight Squats and/or Lunges
- Squat Description: Stand with feet about shoulder width (or a little wider) apart, bending at the knees and hips, lower to about knee height and return to standing. Repeat 8-15 times, 1-3 sets.
- Lunge Description: Stand with both feet about hip width apart. Step one foot far behind you, bend both knees, pulling the hips straight down between both legs; keeping the front knee aligned over laces in front foot. Rise and repeat 8-15 times per leg, 1-3 sets per leg. Front Thigh should be parallel to the floor.
- Desk Push Ups
- Description: place hands on a secure desktop; wider than shoulder width. Bend elbows to about 90 degrees, aligning the chest between the hands, rise. Repeat 8-20 times, 1-3 sets.
- Wall Sits
- Description: Using a flat wall, place the spine and hips along the wall and walk the feet out, so when you squat, your knees are at about 90 degrees. Hold the wall sit for at least 30 seconds or more per wall sit. Repeat for 4-10 repetitions. Working your way up to holding the wall sit for 2-3 minutes per wall sit.
- Description: lying on the floor, bring elbows directly underneath shoulders and rest forearms on the floor. Press up onto knees or toes, aligning the spine in a straight line from head to hips to knees or toes. Hold for 30-120 seconds. If you are new to planks, begin by holding plank for 10-30 seconds and repeat multiple repetitions. Repeat for 4-6 repetitions.
To learn more about fitting fitness into your busy schedule, talk to a personal trainer at an acac club near you: