Getting fit requires regular, consistent effort and a commitment to changing your exercise and eating habits for the long run. But even if the desire is there, consistency can be difficult to achieve when you spend most of your days cooped up in an office or sitting behind a desk in a cubicle.
Rather than put your entire fitness regimen on hold until your work schedule slackens, a smarter approach might be to try adding some office-friendly exercises to your day. Here are several basic moves that can burn calories, firm up muscles, or improve flexibility without rendering you completely sweat-drenched or gasping for air.
During the commute
If you can leave the house 15-20 minutes earlier every morning, you can easily spend that extra time fitting in a bit of cardio. Getting off the train or bus a couple of stops farther away and walking the remaining distance; parking in the most distant space; pretending that the elevator doesn’t exist; and walking a couple of laps around the building are all tried-and-true methods for extending your commute.
At your desk
If you can safely do so, consider sitting on a large exercise ball instead of a standard desk chair for at least part of the day. The unstable ball will force you to engage your abdominals, which can in turn help you develop a stronger core and better posture. And if your employer is amenable, you can even take things to the next level by using a standing workstation or a treadmill desk to incorporate more movement throughout the day.
Other exercises that can be performed at your desk include a wide range of neck, shoulder, arm, and leg stretches; leg raises; glute squeezes; seated isometric crunches; and tricep dips. You should also keep a tennis ball or grip trainer at your desk to help strengthen your hands and forearms when you’re not tapping away on the keyboard.
During lunches and breaks
Utilize your lunch hour and break times to get moving in earnest. If you have 45 minutes or more, change into a pair of sneakers and go for a brisk walk around the block or head to a nearby park for a few yoga poses prior to enjoying your meal. For shorter breaks, simply walk around the building or up and down the stairs. After your walk, find a sturdy wall for standing pushups, wall sits, and isometric pushes.
Although these types of office exercises will not result in significant weight loss or strength gains, they have a cumulative effect and can yield some worthwhile benefits. At the end of the day, moving even a little bit more than usual is better than not doing anything at all, so give the above exercises a try!