Even with the summer here, it can be hard to find time to exercise—especially when you’re at a desk job (or internship) all day long. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t fit a little something in to help your muscles! There are lots of easy-to-do exercises you can complete at your desk—some more noticeable than others. Besides, who just wants to sit in front of a computer screen all day when you can squat or extend your legs in front of a computer screen all day?
The easiest move you can adhere to while working is improving your posture. Slouching at your desk totally counteracts all the crunches and ab moves from the day before. By keeping a straight back and a taught stomach, you’re reminding the stomach muscles to stay tight and flat—which, let’s face it, is something we all love to see. If you have an uncomfortable chair at work, bring in a pillow or two to make it more comfortable and easier to keep your spine straight during the long work day. You can further this position with an additional stretch to work both your abs and your arms. Sitting crossed legged on your chair, suck in your stomach and placing your arms on the seat or armrests (whatever is most stable…and only do this in general if you have a sturdy chair), raise yourself off the chair for 10 seconds. Repeat this move a couple times for stronger arms and abs, and better balance too.
The next suggested move requires a little equipment. Get an exercise band, which you can use for a number of arm exercises. You can pull your arms straight out to the side, then back to the front (you’ll feel resistance when pulling the band to your sides, which strengthens your triceps). Another move you can try with your band is bicep curls, by placing the band underneath your feet for resistance. Any other exercise you can think of with an exercise band can be done at the office—though you don’t want to break that much of a stress when you have 5 hours to go. Even easier are simple wrist stretches. Stretch your forearm by extending one arm with the palm facing outward, and using the other to gently pull back on the fingers. You can also place your palms together in front of your chest with the elbows sticking out, and move your wrists to the right and then the left—an excellent way to get your arms ready for a long day of typing.
You can also target your legs while at work. You can easily forgo the elevator for the stairs, which you can take two at a time for an added bonus. But you can also strengthen those muscles by doing some simple moves at your desk. While you sit up straight, rest your hands on your chair and extend one leg out in front of you; hold for 5 seconds and then release. Do at least ten reps for each leg, and voila, easy as pie.
Have some fat on your inner thighs you want to banish? Grab a sweater or something you can place between your thighs. Again, sitting up straight and tall with your stomach sucked in, squeeze the object for a good 5-10 seconds before relaxing. Do three sets of 20 and you’ll have an amazing thigh workout on your hands! Another great one for the legs is squats…with your chair! Lift your butt out of your chair so you’re hovering over it (do not use your arms for support), hold for a few seconds and lower. For some variety, you can also try quick pulses (going up and down on a 1-2 count) to get more impact at a faster rate. If you feel like really challenging your legs, you can try the one legged-squat. Place one foot firmly on the ground, and lower and lift your body with some support from your hands on the chair—remember to switch between legs after 10-15 reps.
Remember, you don’t have to do anything to crazy to squeeze some exercise in. Simple stretches will even help your body stay in better shape. Give some discrete desk poses a try. Take a walk around the block during lunch hour. Park in the way back of the lot so you have a nice long walk to get into the building. Instead of going home and plopping down on the couch after work, go for a bike ride or a jog or any activity other than sitting—you’ve been sitting all day, give your butt a break! Exercise doesn’t have to take a ton of time or be insanely difficult. Do it where you can, when you can and you’re on your way to a healthier you.