Finding the motivation to fit a workout into the workday can be an exceedingly difficult proposition. When you’re in the thick of it with emails, meetings, and getting what needs to be done finished according to deadlines, the thought of heading to the gym during your lunch break or after work can be tough to make happen. Even though fatigue can set and sometimes be difficult to overcome, incorporating a bit of movement during the workday is a lot easier than one might think.
By taking a moment or two to engage in some movement, you can make small lifestyle changes necessary to establishing fitness and better wellbeing as a sustained part of your life. Check out the exercise we’ve compiled below to complete either sitting at your desk or getting up to engage in more full-body activities.
1. Seated Leg Raises with Calf Extensions
With your back placed against your chair, extend your legs out in front of you with your toes pointed to the ceiling. From there, point your toes straight ahead of you. To complete the movement, return your feet to the floor. Repeat 10-15 times.
2. Swivel Obliques
Sitting straight up in your chair, place the tips of your fingers on your desk. Making a concerted effort not to allow your fingers to assist in the movement, engage your core and swivel side to side. Aim for two sets of 10 reps with a short break in between.
3. Abdominal Engagement
While seated—you can even complete this exercise without having to stop working—engage your core and release 10-15 times.
Bonus Tip: Engaging in 10 minutes of meditation, either using an app or in self-guided session, can imbue your day with some extra mindfulness, reduce stress, and regulate your emotions to confront the challenges you face every day with confidence and serenity.
1. Take the Stairs
Whether you’re arriving to or leaving the office or stepping out for lunch or a meeting, take the stairs and eschew the elevator. The cardio will get your blood pumping, and if you stick with it, you can tone your legs and perhaps even build your endurance.
2. Incline Push-ups
Place your hands on the edge of your desk and adopt a push-up position with your legs together behind you. Lower your chest to 5-6 inches above the desk while maintaining your elbow at a 45-degree angle. Engage your core and complete 10-12 reps for two sets with a rest in between as needed.
3. Calf Raises
Stand directly behind your chair and place your hands on the top for support. Lift your heels off the floor and balance your weight on the balls of your feet. Hold for five seconds before lowering yourself back down. Repeat for three sets of 10 with rests in between as required.
Taking short breaks to get active is not only beneficial to your physical wellbeing, but it can do wonders for your mental health as well. Disconnecting for a moment, engaging in some movement, and shaking off the stasis and stagnation that sitting for hours at a time allows you to return to your desk refreshed and reinvigorated. You may even find you’re able to shift your perspective to approach a problem or challenge in a new way and find solutions that had previously alluded you.
And remember: even if you only do five reps of one of the exercises we’ve featured here, it’s better than doing nothing at all. Making an effort, no matter how small, and keeping at it helps you build the habit, which contributes to building a new identity of someone who exercises regularly. You may not be training to compete in a triathlon, but every bit of effort you make is a positive step in the right direction.