Don’t just “go to work”! Make work work for you! How do you do this? You get in your office WOD (workout of the day) and keep your activity levels up, counteracting the harmful effects of inactivity related to many work environments. The importance of getting up from your desk multiple times throughout the day (once every hour—minimum) cannot be overstated.
Try these quick simple workouts to add a little more activity to your day.
Office Workout of the Day
**Aim for 30 – 60 seconds of activity, 3 – 5 times per day.
WOD #1—Jumping Jacks. Begin by standing with your arms at your sides and feet together. Jump into the air, move your legs to hip-width apart while simultaneously bringing your arms up and together above your head. Jump again and bring your feet and arms back to starting position.
Too hard on your knees or ankle? Instead of jumping, just place one leg out to the side at a time, alternating your legs, while keeping those arms moving! You can use this type of modification for any of the jumping exercises below. Just keep one foot on the floor while moving the other as if you were jumping.
WOD #2—Body Squats. Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart with your arms crossed in front of you. Bend at the knees and push your hips backwards (as if you were going to sit on a chair). Squat down until your knees are parallel to the floor and then push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position. Repeat.
WOD #3—Desk Pushups. Place your hands on your desk (only if it’s sturdy!), palms down and elbows straight. Move your feet back until your body is in a straight line. Bending at the elbows, lower your chest to the desk and then push with your arms to return your torso to the starting position. Repeat. If your desk isn’t sturdy, you can also do these by placing your hands against a wall.
WOD #4—Hamstring Curl. Stand with your feet together and use a wall or stable surface for balance. With your thighs together, bend your right leg at the knee bringing your foot upwards toward your butt (as if you were trying to kick yourself). Hold for a moment and slowly lower your leg back to the floor. Repeat on the opposite side.
WOD #5—Biceps Curls. Using something you can hold in your right hand that weighs a few pounds (like a stapler, a bottle of water, or something else that’s handy), start with your arm straight down by your side with your palm facing forward. Keep your upper arm pinned to your side and use your biceps muscles to lift the object toward your shoulder. Slowly lower back to starting position and repeat ten times. Move to your left hand and repeat on that side.
WOD #6—Run in Place. Self-explanatory… just gently jog in place for 20 to 30 seconds to get the blood flowing.
WOD #7—Lunges. With your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips, take a giant step backward with your right leg, bending both legs to 90-degrees. Pushing up and forward through your left heel, propel your body forward and bring yourself back up to the standing position. Repeat on the left side.
WOD #8—Doorway Isometric Push (side laterals). Stand in the middle of a doorway with your arms down by your sides. Lift your arms until the backs of your hands are pressed against the doorframe. Push against the doorframe as hard as you can for 10 seconds at a time. Repeat 5 – 10 times.
WOD #9—Imaginary Jump Rope. Imagine you are jumping rope by swinging “the rope” with your arms as you jump. That is, unless, of course, you really can jump rope at work, in which case, grab your rope and rock on.
WOD #10—Scissor Jumps. With your hands on your hips, jump into the air. While you’re mid-air, quickly scissor your legs so your feet switch from front to back positions before landing. Bend your knees slightly as you land to cushion your joints.
WOD #11—Chair Dips. While sitting in a sturdy chair (do NOT do this exercise on a chair that moves or has wheels), place your hands on either side of your hips. Slide your body forward so your hips drop off the chair. Lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Push with your triceps to raise your torso back up to your chair level and repeat.
WOD #12—Back Squeeze. This exercise is so important, especially as we slouch over our computers all day. Sit up straight and bring your arms up by your sides with your elbows bent. Try to picture “touching your elbows” behind your back while you squeeze your back muscles as hard as you can. (Your elbows won’t actually touch.) Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
WOD #13—Walk. Another self-explanatory exercise. Just getting up and taking a quick walk around the building can do wonders. Aim for 2 – 3 brief walks a day in addition to any normal on-the-job walking you may already do.
WOD #14—Glute Squeeze. Sitting in your chair, simply squeeze your glute muscles and keep your abdominals tight while holding for a count of three. Repeat 10 times.
WOD #15—Shoulder Presses. You can do this exercise with or without weight, either seated or standing. Simply bring your elbows out to your sides and approximately level with your ears. Your arms should be bent at a 90-degree angle with your palms facing forward. Push upward by engaging your shoulder muscles and bring the edges of your hands together over your head. Slowly lower back to the starting position.
WOD #16—Body Lift. Another undercover movement, while seated, simply place your hands next to your hips on your chair and push upward, effectively lifting your body off your chair. Hold this position for 5 – 10 seconds and lower yourself back to the seated position. No one will be the wiser.
WOD #17—Calf Raises. Using a wall for stability, face the wall and place your palms against it, at chest height, so you’re slightly leaning into the wall. Using your calf muscles, lift your body onto your tip toes, and then slowly lower back to the starting position. Repeat for the allotted time period.
WOD #18—Shrugs. While seated at your desk, take a moment to shrug and tense your shoulders as hard as you can and hold this pose for ten seconds at a time. Release and repeat.
WOD #19—Stair Climb. Another pretty self-explanatory one… just take the stairs whenever possible, or if you’re feeling particularly industrious, you can run up and down a few flights whenever the urge hits you.
WOD #20—Planks. Assume a pushup position. Next, lower your upper body down onto your forearms with your palms flat on the floor while keeping your feet, hips, back, and shoulders aligned. Hold this position as long as you can (aim for 30 seconds and work your way up to one minute).
WOD #21—Wall Sit. Begin standing with your feet a bit more than a foot away from the wall (so your knees are directly over your ankles when your knees are bent) and lean backwards until your back is flat against the wall. Bend at the knees and lower your body until you are in a “seated” position with your thighs parallel to the ground. Hold for 10 seconds and return to standing.
WOD #22—Arm Circles. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Raise your arms out to your sides and start with small forward movement circles. Continue the circles making larger and larger circles for 30 seconds. Stop, switch directions, and repeat.
WOD #23—Chest Opener. Simply stand in the doorway with your arms straight out to your sides and on the outside of the doorframe. Allow your body to lean forward and feel the gentle stretch across your chest and shoulder muscles. Maintain this stretch for 10 – 20 seconds and return to standing.
WOD #24—Yoga Stretch. This one will really re-energize you! Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Taking a deep breath in, lift your arms up above your head as high as you can and stretch. Hold this position for a few seconds and then return to the start as you breathe out. Repeat.
WOD #25—Ankle Exercises. While seated at your desk, take your right foot and roll it in circles to the right for 5 seconds. Then roll in circles to the left for 5 seconds. When finished, take turns pointing and then flexing your foot for 20 repetitions. Repeat on the opposite side.
WOD #26—Leg Lifts. Stand with your back to your desk, your hips stable against the edge, and your palms face down, griping the edge of your desk for stability. While keeping your leg straight, lift your right leg until it’s parallel with the ground. Hold for a count of three and slowly lower to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.
WOD #27—Twists. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift your arms straight out to your sides so they are parallel with the ground. Focus on a point right in front of you and do not move your head as you swing your upper body gently as far to the left as you can, twisting at the waist, and then as far to the right as you can, each time coming back to center to pause before progressing.
WOD #28—Good Mornings. Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. With your knees straight, put your hands on your hips and bend forward at the waist, keeping your torso parallel to the ground and your head in line with your spine. Pause and hold for a moment, and then straighten back up to the starting position. Repeat.
WOD #29—Punches. This may or may not come in handy, depending on how frustrated you are with work… simply stand with your feet hip-width apart and, using alternate arms, punch straight out in front of you for 10 – 20 seconds.
WOD #30—Kettlebell-less Swing. If you have a kettlebell handy, great. If not, then you can just clasp your hands in front of you, place your feet about hip-width apart, and squat down, letting your clasped hands drop down between and slightly behind your thighs. Next, swing your hands up and into the air as you straighten your legs and push your hips forward as you reach the top position. As your hands come back down, repeat the squatting sequence to continue.
After 30 days, you’ll feel more energized during each day, and you’ll be on the road to improved fitness. What’s next? Start again for another month!