If you’re gainfully employed today, chances are that you spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer at your workplace.
In fact, you probably sat in the back of a bus, a train, or an Uber to commute to work. And you also probably used some tissue paper to reserve your seat—which you proceeded to enjoy—over lunch and dinner.
What I’m pointing out is that you likely spend a good amount of your daily routine sitting down. And what you might not know is that such a sedentary lifestyle is not healthy at all—it might even cost you your life.
Don’t believe me? Check out this recent study which concluded that sitting for more than 3 hours a day was detrimental to one’s life expectancy:
Researchers found that sitting time significantly impacted all-cause mortality, accounting for approximately 433,000, or 3.8%, of all deaths across the 54 nations in the study.
I don’t know about you, but I spend a whole lot more than 3 hours a day sitting down. No wonder I’ve been feeling a bit achy and slow lately…
Anyway, the good news is that this can easily avoided with these easy 5-minute workouts, which will get your heart pumping and blood flowing. No equipment required.
The bad: you might look a little silly doing these office workouts by yourself, but not if you get the rest of your team to do it with you. Think of it as a team-bonding exercise.
Ready? Let’s do this.
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Let’s start with the basics. Chiropractor Dr Simon Floreani says that the act of stretching helps to “nourish the muscles and improve your concentration levels as your brain gets some blood flow.” If not:
When muscles stay still the blood pools in the muscles, which makes you feel tired and sluggish.
Here are some simple office stretches you can do.
1. Overhead Stretch
Raise your arms above your head, interlock your fingers, and push upwards. Alternatively, if you want to be more subtle, just push your arms straight out in front of you instead.
2. Arm Stretch
Put your arm straight out in front of you (with your palm facing the floor) and pull your fingers back towards you—first above your arm, then below.
3. Hamstring Stretch
While seated, put your legs straight out in front of you (with your feet on the floor). Bend over and try to touch your toes. Don’t feel sad if you can’t, it’s the effort that counts.
4. Back Twist
While seated, cross your left leg over your right. Placing your right hand on your left thigh, twist your back towards your left as far as you can go. Repeat for the other side.
5. Lower Back Stretch
While seated upright, bring one of your knees towards your chest. Put your hands on the back of your thigh, and pull towards yourself (gently). Hold for 30 seconds, then do the same for the other thigh.
6. Chest and Shoulder Stretch
While seated, clasp your hands behind your back, and pull back your shoulders.
7. Shoulder Roll
Simply roll your shoulders back like you’re shrugging them. Repeat 10 times.
8. Neck Stretch
Tilt your head (like you’re trying to look at something sideways) as far as possible to the left, then the right. Turn your head as far as possible to the left, then the right.
Now look up at the ceiling, and use your fingers to gently push your head upwards. Then look down at the floor, and again use your hands to gently push your head downwards.
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Time to really get moving! Cardiovascular exercises get your heart rate up, and so increase blood circulation throughout your body as well.
9. Step Aerobics
Find the nearest, least frequented staircase. Step up and down on the lowest step, maintaining a steady pace for a minute.
10. Jog on the Spot
Self-explanatory. Hop up from your seat, and jog, jog, jog for 5 minutes.
11. Jumping Jacks
Get up from your seat, and stand with legs shoulder-width apart. Jump up while extending your legs sideways, and bring your arms together above your head at the same time, and repeat.
12. Take a Walk
Sounds underwhelming, right? Don’t underestimate the power of walking, though. A 6-minute walk can help improve “logical and visual memory,” according to this study.
Arm, Chest, and Leg Exercises
Who needs a gym when you have your own body weight? Here are some arm, chest, and leg exercises that you can do anytime, anywhere.
Stand while you’re working at the desk. Stand while having a meeting with your teammates. Stand while you’re grabbing a bite in the pantry. Just stand whenever and wherever you can.
14. Leg Raises
While seated upright, straighten your left leg while squeezing your abdominal muscles (like you would when doing sit ups). Hold for 5 seconds, then lower it, and repeat 3 times. Do the same for your right leg.
Get out of your chair, and push it back. With your feet together, bend your knees like you’re moving into a sitting position, until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Raise your arms as you go down, and hold for 15 seconds. Get up, and repeat 5 times.
16. (Desk) Push Ups
Make sure that your desk is stable before attempting this. Put your palms shoulder-width apart on the desk, and step away from it. Lower your entire body towards the desk, hold for a couple of seconds, and then push yourself back up. Repeat 5 times.
17. Chest Squeezes
While seated, place the palms of your hands together in front of your chest. Push your hands together, and contract your chest muscles as you do that. Hold for 15 seconds, and then release. Repeat 5 times.
18. Wall Sit
Find an empty wall nearby. Stand with your back against it, and bend your knees until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor (keep your back against the wall). Hold for 30 seconds, and rest. Repeat until you feel satisfied (or exhausted, whichever comes first).
What office workouts do you do? Do they make you feel more energized? Let us know in the comments below!