Maintaining health and wellness at work has never been more relevant or important. Burnout is an official medical diagnosis now, as declared by the World Health Organization. We live in an era where people are Dying for a Paycheck. Thankfully, more sensible parties are pushing back against this rigid ethos by recognizing the importance of work-life balance. Conscientious employers and employees are seeking out ways to avoid overwork and recharge their energy levels. One modest but undeniably effective way of doing this is by exercising. Even if you don’t have a gym subscription, there are some workouts you can do in the office. While they’re not as intense as hitting the weights or the treadmill for a full session, effective exercises can have a positive results particularly when you’re spending hours seated in front of a screen.
So here are a few exercises and stretches you can do in the office, and even in front of your desk:
One of the easiest yet undeniably effective ways to stay active. Feeling slow and sluggish at work? Get up and take a lap around your block or the floor. Is the weather fine? Then take a walk outside. Got some time? Try going up or down the stairs instead of the elevator. Of course, this might take time and depending on the AC (or the weather) you might get a bit sweaty.
This works the biggest muscle in your body, the gluteus maximus. It’s a staple for any workout. So not only are you staying active during work, you’re also activating your posterior. Hips, thighs, calves and even the core, squats hit ’em all.
To do your squats right, remember:
Keep your feet hip-width apart.
Bend the knees and lower yourself. Keep the knees behind the toes. Stick your butt out behind you but keep your torso upright and contracted. Don’t bend your back.
Press into the heels to raise yourself.
During your reps, do not completely straighten or lock your knees. Keep them slightly bent even when you’ve returned to standing position (unless you’re finished).
These take a bit more space. It also works the glutes and the legs. Here’s how to do it:
Stand with your feet staggered, one foot forward and one back, separated by around 3 feet.
Bend both knees and lunge downwards, bend the back knee.
Don’t lunge forward past the front knee as this puts pressure on the joint.
Press into the heel to stand.
Sit upright on your chair. Straighten one leg so that it’s parallel to the floor and hold it there for 10 seconds. Lower it and do the same with the other leg. Repeat this 15 times for both legs.
The hovering leg raise is similar to this but involves raising both legs at the same time.
Warning: Use an office chair that won’t roll away. For safety’s sake.
Sit on the very front edge of your chair, place your legs in front of you and put your hands on either side of your hips. With your fingers pointing to the front, grasp the edges of the chair and then use your arms and core to raise your body off the chair, and then downwards towards the floor. Push yourself up and down.
Make sure you are a safe distance away from your screen. This exercise is great cardio, it’ll raise your heart rate and release pent up stress especially if you’ve had a frustrating day at work.
Assume the boxing position, raising your fists up in front of your face. Punch your fists forward, as if there was a punching bag in front of you. Punch with your left, punch with your right. Jab, straight. If you know a bit of boxing, then add some hooks and uppercuts, even a few weaves and slips.
Just watch out for any co-workers beside you. Do this for 30 seconds. Pause and then repeat.
Step back a foot away from the wall, then lean forward against it with only your forearms to support yourself. Hold that position for as long as you can.
Too easy? Then lean forward and lower yourself until your shoulders almost touch the wall. This angle will put more weight and work your muscles out more.
Effective exercises such as these are invaluable in preserving your health and wellness at work. Hours spent sitting on front of the screen and keyboard can still take its toll on the body. Likewise with sedentary lifestyles, especially when there’s hardly any impetus left to head to the gym after a draining workday. So every little bit of physical activity counts, and you can get more bang for the buck from these workouts by using proper technique and form. Check out instructional materials online, like Youtube videos and fitness-oriented Instagram pages. And of course, be sure that you’re viewing materials from properly certified trainers.
Ideally, health and wellness would be promoted on a larger scale by doing away with the unhealthy mindsets promoted by the likes of Alibaba’s Jack Ma who pushes for 12 hour workdays and six day workweeks, or techbros like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk put their employees in difficult conditions. But we’re not titans of the industry. So have to do what little we can. And ensuring our own workplaces are a bit healthier is one way to bring some positive change into the corporate world.