With Covid restrictions being lifted and the workforce returning to the office, a lot of us are bound to go back to our pre-Covid desk job lives. While prioritising a regular, intense workout may work for some, others may often find it hard to make time to hit the gym often—especially now, with commuting being added to one’s day. If you fall into the latter category, fret not. We’ve curated a list of exercises you can do at your workplace to stay fit and active, and avoid gaining those kilos from sitting too long.
Here are some exercises you can do on and around your desk:
1. Desk pushups
Granted, pushups are not as simple as they look—especially for beginners—but doing them at an incline certainly helps. While sitting, place your hands on your desk and lean against it at an incline. First, push yourself away from the desk, stretching your arms. Then, move your chest towards the desk, bringing it as close as possible, while bending your elbows. Repeat this a few times to give your upper body a quick and effective warm-up every now and then. Do make sure your desk is secure and won’t move when you put your body weight against it.
2. Chair tricep dips
Provided your work chair is secure and won’t zoom off in the opposite direction, using it for tricep dips is a great way to tone those tricep muscles and get rid of any arm flab. You just have to sit at the edge of the chair, your hands on either side of your hips. Next, lower yourself off the seat, and hoist yourself up using your tricep muscles. This exercise also helps build arm strength and engages the core.
3. Desk Plank
With an incline similar to desk pushups, performing planks at your desk can help you tighten and strengthen your core. Start by resting your forearms on the desk and lean at an incline; hold the position for as long as possible, keeping your core muscles engaged. What a brilliant way to work towards a firmer core, without worrying about missing days at the gym.
4. Lunges and side-lunges
If you have space around your desk or a separate area you can move about in, throw in a few forward and side lunges every day to work your legs and glutes. A five-minute break from work is all you need for this. Not only does it strengthen your muscles, but also energises the body and gives you a little boost to concentrate on your work afterwards.
5. Wall sit
The wall sit is another way to work those quads, glutes, and hamstrings that may get sore, tired, and stiff from sitting on your chair all day. A little movement and burn can keep them healthy and functionally active. Lower yourself into a sitting position as if sitting on a chair, while resting your back against a wall or any other sturdy surface. Hold the position for as long as you can. It gets easier when done regularly.
6. Oblique twist
Here’s an ingenious (and fun) way to use your swivel chair. While sitting in it, hold onto your desk and twist the chair from side to side with your feet raised slightly off the ground. Let’s be honest: a lot of us do this anyway for fun. This exercise helps work the oblique muscles.
7. Seated leg extensions
This exercise won’t even require you to take a break from work! Simply raise your calves periodically, to a 180-degree position with your thighs, and lower them again. You can do one leg at a time, raise your legs alternately, or even raise both together. A few reps and sets are all that is needed.