- Office Workouts: Staying Healthy in Front of the Computer
- Micro-Breaks, Micro-Workouts and Healthy Computing
- Office Workouts for the Uninhibited
- Stealthy Workplace Workouts
If you have a private or free-spirited office, you can actually get in a nice little mini-workout on a Workrave break (see Part 1 for more on Workrave and micro-breaks) or just select one or two exercises and then have a drink of water.
No Equipment Required
- One minute of jumping jacks. One of the problems with all that sitting is the limited blood and oxygen flow you’re getting. This fixes that and strengthens your legs too, while also loosening up the shoulder and neck area that tightens during a day at the computer. This is a nice exercise because it’s easy to change the intensity.
- Mountain Climbers. A killer exercise that you might remember from elementary school. Start like you’re at the top of a pushup and alternately hop one foot forward and then thrust it back as the other foot comes forward. This is a good all-body exercise. You can either touch the foot to the ground when it comes forward or just do a hop where if comes up and back without touching. Like jumping jacks, this will get your blood moving, but will also give you some nice strengthening in the shoulders and the abs.
- Set of pushups to failure. A classic for the arms and chest of course, but also will loosen up the neck and shoulders during a day of computing.
- Front plank, one minute from the elbows. For this you lie on the ground, and come up onto your elbows and your toes and, keeping your body as straight as possible from head to toes, tucking your tummy a little bit (you don’t want to sag into a swayback at all), hold for one minute (build up to two minutes). You can also do this in push-up position, which is a little more of a shoulder workout and a little less intense on the abs. This is a fantastic core-strengthening exercise that will do wonders for posture and back health.
- Side planks. Keeping your body totally straight, support yourself on one hand and the site of one foot, while the other hand reaches to the sky and your body faces the wall (rather than the ground as in the front plank). Again, a nice complementary core exercise to the front plank.
- Squats or, if you can, one-legged squats. This will get some blood back in those butt muscles you’ve been sitting on all day, and the one-legged version will also help with balance (and be a much more intense muscle workout as well).
- Airplane squats. Standing on one foot, bring your body parallel to the ground and stick your other foot straight behind you. Arms out to the sides, so you are sort of like an airplane, but, with one leg still touching the ground. You can either hold that position for a count and then switch legs, or do ten squats each leg. All the benefits of squats, plus it will stimulate your whole back a little.
- Set of crunches. I’m not a huge fan of crunches as I think there are better exercises for the core, but they are simple and require no equipment. Given that you’re likely stressing your neck already working at your computer, it is essential that you do not interlace the fingers behind the head and pull with the arms. You never want to do this anyway, though most people do. But in this context, it’s even more important. Instead, just put the index fingers to the temples or cross your arms on your chest and focus on lifting the shoulders to the sky, not bringing the head to the knees.
- Lunges. You can do lunges to the front, back and side and just get your legs moving, which will strengthen your legs, sure, but will also get the blood flowing after sitting on your keester. If you’re really uninhibited, you can go out into the hallway and lunge your way up and down the hallway and relive your days on the fencing team. Speaking of which, my fencing coach made us hold lunges in the low position while he lectured on strategy for minutes at a time until we were literally trembling in our whole bodies with sweat running down the brow. In other words, you can make this pretty tough if you want.
- Any of the office exercises for the inhibited.
If you really have some freedom at work, you can really bump it up with a mini-gym at your desk.