HOW TO STAY ACTIVE AT WORK:

OFFICE WORKOUT ROUTINES + DIET TIPS

Here are some fitness moves that you can perform in the office to keep your blood flowing, reduce stress, and reverse sitting damage: 

  • Bodyweight squats – normal and sumo (Normal-standing with your feet hip with apart and feet pointing forward, hinge your hip backward like you are about to sit down in a deep chair. Allow you glute to drop to your knee level while keeping your back straight and upper body upright. Sumo- the same movement as above with your feet one foot wider than your hips and toes pointed 60 degrees outward.) 

  • Lunges – front, rear, side (Front-step out about 4 feet in front of you and the lower your body straight down, not leaning forward, to the ground so your knee either barely touches the ground or comes close. Rear-it is the same movement as above except you step backward. Side-step directly to the side and lower your glute to the ground while hinging your hip backward like you are about to sit on a deep chair. 

  • Desk push-ups (With both hands on your desk, put your feet back so your body is in a 45-degree angle. Straighten your body, squeeze your glute and core and perform push-ups.) 

  • Desk dips (Facing away from your desk, put both hands on the desk just behind you with your fingers facing forward. Step your feet away from the desk and lower your body towards the ground.) 

  • Calf raises (With your feet flat on the ground, raise your heels up as high as possible. Perform this movement with your feet facing straight, turned outward, and turned inward.) 

  • Heisman (Taking a step to one side lift your knee up as high as possible while twisting your trunk to the side you stepped. Strike a pose with a football (imagine it) in one hand and the other hand pushing a defender away from you.) 

  • Leg swings (Standing at your desk or chair, with a completely straight leg, swing your get outward and inward like the pendulum of a clock. Then swing your leg front and back.) 

  • Standing lateral leg lifts (Standing at your desk or chair, with a completely straight leg, purposefully move your leg laterally as far as you can and in a controlled fashion, move it back down to meet your other leg.) 

  • Standing reverse leg lifts (Standing at your desk or chair, with a completely straight leg, move your leg backward without rotating your hips. This is a glute exercise so really squeeze the glute while performing this movement.) 

  • Standing front leg lifts (Standing at your desk or chair, with a completely straight leg, lift your leg and in a controlled way return it to the standing condition.) 

  • Desk cross mountain climbers (With your hands on the desk and your body at a 45-degree plank position slowing and methodically raise your knee to the opposite elbow and return it to the ground.) 

  • Hamstring stretch(s) (With your feet shoulder with apart or wider, bend over with a flat back. Another way is to lift your leg onto your desk and straighten your leg. Maintaining a flat back, lean towards your toe.  

  • Quadriceps stretch (Standing beside your desk raise your heel up behind you and grab your foot. Keeping your hip forward and back straight, pull your foot up to your glute while keeping your knees together.) 

  • Calf stretch(s) (With both hands on your desk, put your body at a 45 degree or more angle. With your leg or legs straight (you may do one calf at a time or both), press your heel(s) to the ground and hold. With your body in the same position and your heel pressed to the ground, bend your leg and keep pressing the heel to the ground.) 

  • Arm/wrist stretch (With one or both hands on your desk, fingertips pointing back at you (close to the side or fingertips off of the side), straighten your arm(s), and press the heel of the hand to the desk.) 

  • Door jam stretch (Standing in a door jam, raise your arms to look like goal posts (90-degree angle from the shoulder and at the elbow). With your elbows inside the door jam, press your body through the door jam without allowing your elbows to move.) 

  • Shoulder stretch (Standing in a door jam, raise your arms straight above your head and put them on one side of the door jam. Then walk your body through the door jam until the stretch is maximized.)  

  • Bent over desk stretch (With both hands on your desk step back away from the desk as much as you can. Then as you are bending over, push your glute backward and keep your arms forward until you feel the stretch all the way down your back.  

  • Hip flexor stretch – runner stretch (Step out into a deep lunge and push your groin to the ground while keeping your back leg straight.) 

  • Seated glute stretch (Sitting on the edge of your chair, cross your leg so your ankle is on your knee. Now reach the crossed leg side hand through the hole you created while reaching the other hand, dropping both hands towards the floor or grabbing your shin.) 

  • Neck stretch (In an erect standing position, reach one hand out and towards the floor while stretching your neck in the opposite direction.) 

  • You can create a movement plan and a stretching plan to be done throughout the day. Since this isn’t a workout plan, it is just a movement plan, you can do different things every day or put a few things together to create a varied plan throughout the week. You can do a quick 10 reps and 1 minute of stretching every hour, or you can alternate between the exercise and the stretching every hour. Here are some examples 

#1 Get a stand up desk

When you sit all day your body pays a high price. The research has shown that you cannot compensate for 6 or more hours of sitting each day with diet, exercise, or wishing it away. When you sit your body goes through immediate and physiological changes, which over time, produce all the negative results.

#2 Have Healthy Low Carb Snacks

If you are a person who likes to snack, get high-quality whole food snacks for your “stash”. The best thing you would have is a veggie a day for your snack, but I know that may not do it for people who have been snacking as a way of life at work. So get your healthy low carb snack and do not have it in or near your desk. Store the snacks in another room so you can’t involuntarily snack.  

#3 Stretch and Movement Breaks

These are vital if you do not have a stand-up desk. Set an alarm for every 30-45 minutes for you to get up and move. Movement, along with some deeper breathing, will oxygenate your blood, which in turn will make you more alert and higher functioning. Also, whenever you take a phone call, stand up and walk around your office or outside if possible.  

While some get a workout during the lunch hour, most people don’t have that kind of time. A morning workout will help the entire day with fantastic oxygenation and all the feel-good chemicals that comes from a good workout. I am not specifically talking about a mid-day run or CrossFit routine. I am purposing that you move and stretch throughout the day.  

#4 Drink Lots of Water

Everyone’s goal for water consumption is different depending on weight, activity, and genetics. There are two rules of thumbs. First, drink half your body weight in ounces. That means if you weigh 150 pounds, then you would consume 75 ounces of water daily. The second rule of thumb is to consume enough water for your urine to be fairly clear. When your urine is cloudy or a thick yellow, you are probably dehydrated. Over 1% dehydration and your mental cognition suffers.  

#5 Make Yourself work for it

Take the long way to the restroom, the water faucet, the snack room, or wherever you go during the day in the office. Another hack is to have a water cup that is no larger than 16 ounces. Then you are forced to continually refill it during the day. If that impedes your water consumption because you tend to hammer through work with no breaks, then get a 32-ounce jar, but forcing yourself to move is the better move.  

#6 Take a Nap after Lunch

The results are in! Taking naps produces great production in the afternoon part of the workday. NASA did a study that elevated pilot performance by 43% after a 27 minute afternoon nap. The afternoon is less than half as productive as the first half of the day. Yes, what you eat for lunch and how much water you have consumed have something to do with this, however, nothing can take the place of a quick cat nap.  

#7 Take Two 3-minute Vacations during the day

Meditation improves everything about your day. This is a great strategy for keeping your stress in check by reducing your stress hormones that are in your blood. Halfway through the morning and again halfway through the afternoon. If you need to reduce the stress because something happened at work, then stop and meditate for 3 minutes.  

There are two ways to approach this time. First and the highly recommended way is to empty your mind of the race of the day and breathe deeply. After you have put things aside, then ask God will fill you with wisdom, energy, strength, joy, peace, and love. That list is not all-encompassing, but it is a good start. When you ask Him to fill you, see Him doing it. Visualize it. See the peace being released in you or one you. I know that is what God wants for you, so when I say visualize it, I mean to agree that it is happening and allow it to permeate your soul. The second approach is to allow yourself to dream. After you have breathed deeply for a minute, let your mind dream. Dreaming of to-do lists is not what I am talking about, rather to be creative. Let your creative mind out of the box. You may find yourself wanting to go past 3 minutes, and that is all right if it is appropriate for your day.  

#8 Eat Nutritious Foods

Starting your eating day, whenever that is, with highly nutritious food is going to benefit your overall health and your workday. You eat for nutrition. That is what your body is craving food for. It is not asking you to give it something to be full, it is asking for vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. When you plan your meals, including snacks when appropriate, plan densely nutrient foods. This means that the quick burger and fries or pizza is a rarity. This means you may have to pack your lunch. Not only will this give you more nutrition, but it will reduce your cash flow for eating out.  

#9 Set up contests/challenges for the workplace

Have some fun with an office challenge for the week. For instance, challenge everyone to do 50 bodyweight squats during the workday. You could also create an eating challenge like not eating sugar during the workday. The Total Life Pursuit webpage has a series of challenges that you could perform throughout the year. Whatever you decide to do, make it doable for people and have some fun. Maybe have a reward of some sort.  

#10 Get Fresh Air and Sunlight

Inside air isn’t as good as the outside air. Probably, more importantly, you need sunshine on your skin. Those UVB rays are needed to create vitamin D which is vital to your health. Take a meeting outside. Make your calls outside. Check your email outside. Eat your lunch outside. I know that some of you can’t go outside for the winter months. There are health strategies that you could implore for life in general, but specific to your work time, there is one thing that you can do if you live in the north and don’t see the sun much for the winter. (Or it is below 30 degrees outside, which may be a little cold for a walk). Get an air purifier for your office. There are many to choose from, and almost all of them will detoxify your office air at least a little bit. Any improvement is good.  

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