For many of us, five days of our week are spent sitting in offices, hunched over computers, with no real opportunity to leave the office to get any exercise. The health risks associated with this lifestyle are widely known and spending our days like this can leave us feeling frustrated and unhealthy.
While there isn’t much you can do about the nature of your office job, there are some exercise you can do which will help strengthen and tone your body without even leaving the office:
Magic Carpet ride
If you spend the day sitting on a sturdy chair, then this this is a good exercise you can do for strengthening your core and arms. Lift your feet onto the chair and sit cross legged (so that your feet are on the seat), suck in your stomach, place your hands on the arm rests and putting your weight on your arms, lift yourself a few inches off the seat. Using your hands, arms and core, hold the position for ten-fifteen seconds before lowering yourself back onto the seat. Rest and repeat five times.
Typing away all day can be hard on our wrists, so this is a great stretch to relax them. Simply stretch out one arm at a time, (palm facing down) and use your other hand to pull the fingers of the outstretched arm down for three seconds and then up for three seconds. Then alternate to the other arm.
Leg lifts and curls
If you are standing by the printer waiting for it to finish churning out documents, then this is an ideal opportunity for some leg toning exercises. Lift one leg behind you, or to you side, making sure to keep it straight, hold it for a second and then slowly lower it down before repeating with the other leg. Another leg toning exercise you can do if you are sitting, is to stretch your legs out in front of you and cross them over. Using your core lift them off the floor, press your top leg down against your bottom leg and resist the pressure with your bottom leg. Hold this until your leg muscles feel tired and then repeat placing the other leg on top.
Steady heel raise
This is one you can do either standing or sitting and is great for strengthening calf muscles. Stand or sit up as tall as you can and slowly lift your heels off the floor until you are resting on just the balls of your feet. Hold and then slowly lower, repeat twenty times on each foot and then do a set of 10 on each foot. (You can add more reps as you get stronger)
Neck and shoulder shaper
Aching necks and shoulders are a well-known feature of office life, but there are stretches you can do that not only help relieve this, but also help tone your neck and shoulders! Beginning with your neck – place your head into your hands and press your palms into your forehead as if to push your head backwards, resist using your neck muscles. Then clasp your hands together behind your head and push your head backwards, using your hands to resist. After you have toned your neck, it’s time to move onto the shoulders. Roll back your shoulders until your shoulder blades are touching, imagining you are holding an object such as a pencil between your shoulder blades, hold for 10 seconds before relaxing and repeating.
Frida Harju-Westman is the in-house nutritionist at the health app Lifesum, a Stockholm-based digital health company with over 20 million users. Using tech and psychology, it creates a tailored plan to help people live happier, more balanced lives. Whether the goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or just live a healthier life, Lifesum shows how changing small, everyday habits can transform your life. The app is available on iOS and Android.