Staying motivated in an office all day is one tall order. An even taller order? Getting a workout in after 5 p.m. While it would be great to work for a company that offers their employees lunchtime yoga classes and an in-office rock climbing wall, that’s not yet the case for most 9-to-5’ers. We’re crossing our fingers that the aforementioned scenario will one day soon be the norm across corporate America, but until then, try taking these simple steps toward a healthier daily routine.
1. Desk push-ups
With your feet flat on the ground and a good distance from your desk, lean forward and put your hands on the edge of your desk. Maintaining a straight body, lower yourself by slowly bending your elbows, then pushing back up, engaging your arms and core.
2. Send your documents to the printer farthest from your desk
Making this a habit is an easy way to ensure you take a few extra steps throughout the day. It will also help boost your energy level once you return to your desk.
3. Swap your chair for an exercise ball
Sitting on an exercise ball is ideal for lower back and posture awareness. Additionally, lack of a chair back will help keep you more alert, as slouching is not an option.
4. Alternate mouse sides
Switch your computer mouse to the opposite side on which it typically sits every other day. This will help keep you from favoring one side over the other (i.e., we might tend to lean on one side of an office chair if the mouse stays on the same side).
5. Seated leg lifts
These can be done right from your chair and underneath your desk, allowing you to engage your muscles without interfering with your work.
6. Stretch your wrists
Straighten one arm out in front of you, activating that hand by slowly pulling back on your finger tips. This should feel great during a long day of typing.
7. Loosen tight hip flexors
Stand in front of your chair and put one foot on the seat. Keep your standing leg straight, push hips forward toward the chair, lift arms overhead, and slightly arch your lower back.
8. Boost confidence with a pranic pose
Certain power poses are said to revitalize us, and Sarah Klein, certified health and nutrition coach, expert yoga instructor, and owner of Whole Health Lab, suggests doing the following to counteract the motion of hunched shoulders and a hanging neck that we get while sitting at a desk and staring at a screen all day. Turn your chair around and stand with your back against the back of the chair. The top of the chair should be at the bottom of your shoulder blades, enabling you to lean back over it and open your arms up, creating a supported back bend.
9. Lunchtime lunges
Take a stroll around the block and incorporate lunges with each step to get the blood flowing in the legs after having spent the morning sitting down.
10. Wall squats
Put your back flat against the wall with your feet out in front of you and knees at a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for as long as possible — you’ll definitely feel a great burn in your quads!
11. Trade the boardroom for bicycles
If your co-workers are up for it and you have a relatively cool boss, suggest everyone bring their bikes to work on a day that your company is having a meeting that doesn’t require the use of powerpoint presentations or the like. Take a leisurely spin on a route that’s quiet enough to allow for group discussion.
12. Crush the H2O
Make a point to fill up your water bottle several times a day. Pick a number (depending on how good you already are, or are not, about drinking water throughout the day) and stick to it. Upping your daily water consumption gives you more energy and helps you feel less sluggish.
13. Get up every hour
When we’re in the middle of a task, we can become consumed by our computer screens. Leave a note in your workspace to remind yourself to get up at least once every hour, even if it’s just to take a stroll to a co-worker’s cubicle to say hello. This will give you an extra boost and can help increase productivity once you return to your desk.
14. Open up your hips with the figure 4 stretch
Sit on the edge of your chair with feet flat on the floor and knees at a 90-degree angle. Cross one leg over so that your ankle is sitting on the opposite thigh. Sit up nice and tall, sweeping arms up overhead. Maintaining a flat back, hinge forward for an added stretch.
Because hey, why not? Laughter is contagious, and happier employees will result in an all-around happier, more productive work environment.
As Sarah Klein says, “When we have our physical and mental health in balance, we are able to focus on the things that really matter: creating purpose and living life inspired.”