If you're anything like the average working American, you understand the benefits of daily exercise, but you struggle to get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise every day. You likely also spend more time than you'd like in front of a computer at work. If that describes you, don't despair! There are a lot of things you can do to become more active, even from a cubicle in an office building.
10 cubicle-appropriate exercises
- Tap your feet, bounce your legs, bob your head. These are subtle, small motions, but can make a difference throughout the day.
- Alternate standing and sitting, even if you don't have a “standing desk.” It can be hard to type while standing, but anytime you're on a call or doing something that doesn't require typing — stand.
- Set your garbage can in front of you, under your desk. Raise your leg to tap your toe on the edge of the garbage can, alternating between left and right feet.
- Sit up straight and squeeze your buttocks. Hold two seconds, repeat.
- Throw on your headphones and dance in your chair to music. Doesn't have to be outrageous. Just subtle movement.
- Straighten your legs and raise them in front of you under your desk. Alternate left and right legs, then do them together.
- Put something small between your knees — a stress ball, empty coffee mug, canister of cleaning wipes — and squeeze against the item. Push your legs together, hold, repeat.
- Give yourself a handshake and pull your arms apart.
- Put your forearms on your armrest. Push your body up and hold as long as you can. You can also cross your legs in your chair (the kids call it “criss cross applesauce” nowadays) and do the same thing. Repeat.
- Grip the desk in front of you, raise your feet slightly off the ground, and swivel your chair from side to side.
Office with closed doors or vacant conference room
What if you work in an office with a door, or you can use a vacant conference room for a few minutes? Try these:
- Basics — squats, lunges and leg raises. They engage some of the biggest muscle groups in your body.
- Arms and chest — simple arm circles, curls with weights (anything you can find in the office), push-ups (traditional ones or against a wall).
- Quick cardio — jumping jacks, air boxing, jogging in place.
- If you're really dedicated — burpees, sit-ups, planks.
You're on your way to better health!
Here are five more things you can do to change the culture around the office and get everyone you work with to exercise more:
- Take the stairs. Always. This seems obvious, but so few people actually do it. If it's three or fewer floors up or five or fewer down, just do it.
- Schedule walking meetings as often as you can. Push for them when others schedule meetings, too – you can change the culture in the office.
- Take advantage of your elevator wait time. If you spend any time waiting for a elevator, do calf raises until the elevator arrives. Remember, if you're traveling just a few floors, take the stairs — not the elevator.
- If you live within a few miles of work, walk or bike in. Start with one direction one day a week and go from there.
- Plan a bit of time during your lunch break to walk around — even if it's only for five minutes.
You should always check with your doctor before you get started with any exercise plan.