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10 Things You Should Be Doing At Work Every Day

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Remember the days when “work” meant long hours of manual labor? Neither do we. It’s the norm these days to spend eight or more hours a day at a desk. Even if we make it to the gym after work, some experts say that’s not enough to reverse the damage of a sedentary lifestyle.

The good news is, you can make exercise part of your daily routine, regardless of your job. Here are some easy ways you can get more physical during the workday.

Before you start:

1) Talk to HR.

Not for safety reasons. Just to inquire about any rewards your employer might offer for healthy lifestyle choices. Discounts on gym memberships or subsidies for bicycle commuting aren’t uncommon. You never know until you ask!

If there aren’t any reward programs in place, consider requesting a company-wide exercise break or dedicating a space in the office to at-work exercise. Chances are at least a few of your coworkers have been yearning for the same thing!

2) Get a buddy.

Not only will it keep you motivated (peer pressure is a powerful thing), it will make you feel a little less awkward when you start doing squats at your desk. Organize a lunchtime walking group or sign up for a race with a coworker.

running buddy

And now, the exercises:

1) Lively commutes.

If you live and work in a city, consider walking or biking to work. If you ride the bus or the subway, get off a few stops early. If you drive, park at the far end of the lot or at a nearby building. Once you arrive, take the stairs.

2) Walking meetings.

When it’s practical, schedule walking meetings and brainstorming sessions instead of booking a conference room. Do laps inside your building or, if the weather’s nice, head outdoors.

3) Wall sits. (LOWER BODY)

Wall sits are great for building quad strength. Plus, they’re super discrete. Standing with your back against the wall, bend your knees and slide down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Sit and hold for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat as desired. You can even browse through meeting notes or a newspaper while you’re at it!

4) Standing chairs. (LOWER BODY)

Waiting for a big document to load? Try this while you wait! Start by standing with your feet together. Bend your knees until your thighs are almost parallel to the ground, as if sitting in a chair. As you bend, raise your arms straight above your head, keeping your knees together and aligned. Hold for 15 seconds and release.

chair poses combo

5) Desk chair swivels. (CORE)

Sitting upright and with your feet hovering above the floor, grasp the edge of your desk with your fingers. Using your core, swivel the chair from side to side slowly and with control. Continue for 15 seconds.

6) Covert crunches. (CORE)

Sitting at your desk with both elbows on the thighs, curl the chest inward toward the legs while resisting the movement with the arms. Hold for 10 seconds, release, and repeat.

7) Shoulder shrugs. (UPPER BODY)

To avoid confusion, save this one for the privacy of your own desk. Raise both shoulders toward the ears, hold for 5 seconds, and then relax. Repeat 15 to 20 times. Need more? Try holding a briefcase or ream of paper in each hand.

8) Chair dips. (UPPER BODY)

Sit at the very edge of a sturdy (non-rolling) chair, and grip the edge of the seat on either side of your body. With the feet planted on the floor directly below your knees, straighten your arms to lift your body off of the chair. Next, bend your arms to a 90-degree angle so that your body dips down in front of the chair. Hold and re-straighten while keeping your body raised above the chair.

Not convinced? Find out what really happens to the body after sitting all day.

Now get up and get moving!

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G. H. was raised in Minnesota, but currently calls Seattle her home. She's a blogger, editor, and journalist, and she's written everything from news reports to restaurant reviews. If she's not putting pen to paper, G. H. is probably experimenting in the kitchen, chilling out on her yoga mat, or running through a city park.