Sometimes it can be hard to motivate yourself to work out after you’ve come home from a long day on the job. When you’re tired, those New Year’s resolutions don’t seem to matter quite so much. That’s why you shouldn’t wait till you get home to exercise. There are a number of small exercises and stretches you can do right from your computer desk chair that will keep you active. Don’t worry if you aren’t working up a sweat every time – the effects of exercise (just like the effects of unhealthful living) are cumulative.
At Your Desk
- Lift one leg from your chair and extend it until it is straight. Hold it for 2-5 seconds before slowly lowering it back down. Alternate legs. Lift each leg 15 times.
- Sit up in your chair with your arms held straight above you. Maintain this position for 10 seconds. Then extend the right hand higher, then the left. Go through 10 repetitions.
- Grip your armrests and lift yourself out of the seat. Lower yourself back down slowly. Perform 10-15 repetitions.
- Grip the edge of your desk and slowly roll yourself back until your arms are fully extended and your head is between your arms, looking at the floor. Slowly pull yourself back in until you are sitting upright again. Perform 10-15 repetitions.
- Clench your abs fully, then release. Repeat this 10-15 times. The same exercise can be performed with your buttocks or your pelvic floor.
For the Adventurous
- Roll back your chair and hook your heel onto the edge of your desk, making sure that your leg is straight and extended. Sit up straight and then bend forward slightly at the waist to stretch out your hamstring. If your leg won’t stay straight, lightly press on the knee. Hold for 10 seconds. While you are gently stretching, flex and point your foot a few times, holding each position for a few seconds. Switch legs. Do not force the stretch by continuing to bend forward if your hamstring is already fully tense.
- Standing beside your desk, place your hands on the edge and walk backwards until you are in a plank position. Do 15 push-ups against the desk. Before trying this, make sure the desk can support your weight. The same exercise can be performed against a wall.
- While you’re waiting for the printer or a slow-loading page, lift one leg off the floor and squat. Keep your back straight, and try to keep your knee from moving past your front toe. Move slowly, and put a hand on the wall if you need support to keep your balance. After 3-5 squats, switch legs.
It may seem strange to perform certain exercises in front of coworkers, but everyone at your office may well have the same kind of tired and sore muscles that you do. If others at your office see your routine, they may even be inspired themselves to try a few exercises. Odds are, the people around you will be curious or admire your efforts rather than find them amusing, but if anyone ever gives you a hard time, just tell them to give it a shot, and keep doing what feels good for yourself.