By Gina Parenzan
Can’t get to the gym because of a last-minute meeting or conference call? Sticking to your exercise regimen requires constancy and consistency. Being tied to the desk shouldn’t interfere with your daily workout. Yes, there are many exercises that you can do right at your desk! You can burn calories, build up strength and stamina, and take a mental break from your day—all in 15 minutes worth of heart-pounding, core-strengthening office space exercises.
Office Exercise Prescription: Two rounds of each of these five office space exercises.
Squats will strengthen your thighs and shape your butt. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Push your hips down and back towards the ground and shift your body weight onto your heels . Lean forward 45 degrees as you lower your hips to knee level. Keep your core engaged and your knees above your ankles. Squeeze your butt to stand back upright. Repeat 12 to 25 times. Hold a heavy book overhead to increase intensity.
Planking may be the latest craze, but for good reason! It is a simple exercise with multiple benefits. Plank exercises stretch muscles that commonly stiffen throughout the day and contribute to stress. Sitting at your desk might tighten muscles in your shoulder girdle and contribute to the shoulders slumping forward. Also, remaining seated for long periods can tighten the muscles along the back of your thighs. Plank exercises can improve your posture by activating core muscles, including the transverse abdominis and iliopsoas. These muscles stabilize your spine and hips and can help postural deficiencies.
Now convinced to plank? Good. Lower both your forearms to the ground so that both your elbows and fists are flat to the ground. Your fisted palms should be directly underneath your shoulders. Straighten your body but keep your neck and spine neutral, like you’re a plank of wood. Hold the position for 15 seconds, rest and repeat 4 times.
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Walking lunges will help to increase your balance, leg strength, and tone your lower body. Stand upright with feet together. With your hands at your hips, take a large stride step forward until your front and back leg are at a 90 degree angle. Return to your first position and repeat for the length of your office hallway. For a change of pace, take a step backwards instead of a normal forward motion to add difficulty. Or, hold a heavy book overheard while lunging forward.
Pushup/Chair Dip Super Set
Start with your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart, against a wall or lying facedown on the ground. Bend at the elbow and lower your body until arms are at 90 degrees. Perform 10 reps of pushups. Immediately, spring up to perform office chair dips. With your back to the chair, place your hands on the edge of the furniture and bend your arms to slowly lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Raise yourself by straightening your arms. Perform this chair dip 10 times. Repeat the entire sequence 3 times.
Core Leg Lift
The Core Leg Lift will work the deep abdominal muscles, the quadriceps, and the hip flexors. Start by sitting at the edge of your chair and lean back until your upper back slightly touches the back of the chair. Hold underneath the seat of the chair for support and tuck your pelvis. Slowly raise both of your knees up and extend your legs out. Hold your body in a “V” for 5 seconds. Let your shins fall parallel to the floor and then extend your legs out again. Repeat the sequence 10 times.
About Gina Parenzan
Gina Parenzan, CPT, NASM, CSCS Personal Trainer, Nutritionist and Strength and Conditioning Coach for 18 years, degreed in Kinesiology Exercise Nutrition, BS and Health Sciences, BS. Former Collegiate NCAA Athlete, Fitness Competitor and Outdoors Athlete. For almost two decades, I have conducted personal training for top executives, and professional and collegiate athletes with an integrative approach on how to effectively incorporate fitness and nutrition into their everyday lives. Gina can be reached at Fitness4evr@gmail.com.