If you’re reading this, odds are you’re at work and have been sitting down for quite some time. So stand up, wiggle your legs and do a few squats before reading any further.
How did that feel? Probably pretty good.
A recent study says adults who exercise at least 2.5 hours a week show an increase in productivity at work. Not only do you achieve more at work, you’re more likely to be satisfied with the quality of your work, and your stress should decrease while your mood increases.
But how do you even remember to get up and take those breaks? The answer is simple: start by scheduling breaks on your calendar every hour. (This may seem over-the-top but your body will love you for it.)
Fitness tracking devices such as a Fitbit or Apple watch also allow you to set reminders, prompting you to get more steps in. Having a device that counts steps can also make a person feel guilty – in a good way – if they don’t achieve the goal for the day. Fitness trackers also allow you to have daily challenges with friends, family and co-workers. Everyone enjoys a little friendly competition, so why not make it a healthy one?
To keep yourself both healthy and productive at work, get up and use your breaks to try these three exercises in the office.
1. Chair dips
One good exercise to do at work is chair dips, sometimes referred to as tricep dips. (And no, this is not where you grab a bag of chips with dip and eat them in your chair.)
When it comes to exercise at work, most of the talk is about moving your legs but it’s just as important to get the blood flowing to your arms.
Not sure where to start with a chair dip? Do not fear, the answers are here.
Start by backing your chair away from your desk. It’s important to give yourself some room. (Note: if you have a chair with wheels, find a way to study it or push it up against a wall to prevent any injuries.)
Step 1: Sit on the edge of your chair with hands curled over the edge, pushing the chair slightly behind you.
Step 2: Lift your body off the chair with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle.
Step 3: Lower your body using your arms until they reach a 90-degree angle (if your body allows).
Step 4: Push yourself back up to the starting position; repeat.
To start off, shoot for three sets of 10 reps.
2. Chair squats
While you already have your chair away from your desk for the chair dips, you might as well continue with some chair squats.
Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-length apart while your arms are relaxed at your sides. Make sure the chair is behind you.
Step 2: Engage your core and slowly bend your legs until they reach a 90-degree angle or until your thighs are about parallel with the chair.
Step 3: Without sitting down in the chair, fire up your muscles and push yourself back up to the standing position.
This exercise has multiple benefits aside from engaging the core and leg muscles. First, you have the chair as a safety net in case you lose your balance. Second, for beginners out there, this is a nice way to learn the proper way to do a squat.
3. Water bottle weight lifting
The water bottle exercise is a win-win for everyone in the office. Not only is water an essential part of life, today it’s an essential part of your office workout. (Take a break from reading, fill up your water bottle and let’s get to working out.)
There are a few water bottle exercises you can do, including front raises. Practice this one arm at time, unless you have two water bottles.
Step 1: Arms starting at your sides, hold the water bottle in one hand and raise it directly out in front of you until parallel to the ground.
Step 2: Hold it for 2 seconds and slowly bring it back down to your side.
Step 3: Repeat.
For this exercise, a good goal to set is two sets of 20 reps on each arm (or until you can feel the burn). If you’re not feeling the burn, you may need a bigger water bottle. After you complete the exercise, you can rest easy knowing water is already in hand.
In fact, according to the National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine, women should drink an average of 91 ounces of water a day while men should drink 125 ounces. Think about all the times you pull your phone out at work to check social media. Imagine if you used that time to get up, walk around or try an exercise at work.
After all, studies show a little bit of exercise increases your productivity and mood. Everyone likes to be happy right? So don’t skip these mini workouts at work.