10 Ways to Exercise Without Leaving Your Office
Yes, you are busy. The emails are never-ending, the call list is piling up, and the completion of your to-do list seems further and further away with each passing minute of the day. The workout you planned after leaving the office is slowly moving from necessity to luxury, and you feel the stress building as you ponder the consequences. You set a goal to exercise three times this week, and you are not on pace to achieve your goal. Worse, you know your physical, emotional, and cognitive health will suffer, and in turn your overall productivity and job performance. Your industry is ultra-competitive, yes, and in the back of your mind you notice a nagging voice...a feeling that somewhere, somewhere out there, a younger, hungrier, more focused, diligent, and self-disciplined version of yourself is indeed finding the time to work out, all the while planning your overthrow and relegating you to an inferior position.
It is entirely possible to maintain and even improve your physical, emotional, and cognitive performance, (and ultimately your productivity and overall job performance) without having to leave your office. My ten tips will allow you to do just that, and in some cases you need not even stop working if you so choose.
- Office Kettlebell
I mentioned my now infamous office kettlebell in my Offce Space article, and for the expert workout types this is the only list item you will need. The possibilities are limitless, and in my humble opinion there is no better item with which to exercise without having to leave your office. I keep a 55 lbs. kettlebell in my office and use it daily.
- Standing Desk
I also mentioned the standing desk in my Office Space article, and this is a great way to "exercise" without having to stop working. We know that sitting is bad for just about everything, and standing allows you to stretch out and burn a few calories in the process. In fact, standing just 3 hours a day, 5 days a week could have the same impact as running 10 marathons a year. Wow!
- Physio Ball Chair
While standing is better than sitting, too much standing can also have negative consequences. A great change up would be substituting a physio ball in place of your standard office chair. While this may look a bit odd in the C-level suite, for the average office dweller a physio ball would do just fine. The benefits here include better posture and a core that is constantly engaged.
- Core Bridge
Speaking of the core, various bridges and holds provide a great workout and energy boost. If you've been sitting most of the day a core bridge has the added benefit of awakening muscles that have otherwise been dormant.
- Chair Dips
While a bit more advanced, if you have the access and ability, chair dips are sure to get the blood flowing and build some muscle in the process. You will need two chairs, some balance, and quite a bit of strength.
We know walking is a great way to get in a bit of exercise throughout the day, and if you would rather not leave the office, a good pacing session is your next best bet. Do you need to ignite some creativity? Are you working on a tough problem and need a solution? Pacing can help!
- Soft Tissue Work
While we might not consider this working out per se, foam rolling or other forms of soft tissue work can provide a nice change of pace during the day. I keep a foam roller in my office, and it is much needed after being on my feet for 8+ hours a day.
Again while not a 55 lbs. kettlebell overhead, a good 5-10 minute stretch can rejuvenate and energize the body. Are you having a stressful day? Why not combined some foam rolling with a light stretch and reap the benefits.
Not much needs to be said here. If you have an office you have a floor, and if you have a floor you can drop down and do some more. Try elevating your legs on a chair for an added challenge, and if that isn't enough, try elevated legs with clap push-ups to wow your office mates.
If you want to get the blood flowing to the max and get the most out of your limited time, try incorporating a few of the above mentioned exercises into a circuit. Do you only have 10 minutes? Why not try the following, 3-4 times through, with no rest between sets:
- 10 push-ups
- 20 KB swings
- 10 dips
- 20 KB squats
- 6 KB cleans each arm
And there you have it, just ten of many various ways to improve your health and cognitive performance without having to leave the office. Have fun incorporating these exercises into your day when needed. The benefits are immense, and the time invested is minimal. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. What office exercises do you squeeze into your work day? What is your plan when time is a luxury?