By: Trainer to the Stars Cornel Chin
Celebrity Body on a Budget
If you’re one of many who work in an office and find yourself seated at a desk for prolonged periods of time, then you’re asking for trouble. The mass office working culture has led to more sedentary lifestyles.
Your body is designed for movement, so sitting for long hours at a time doesn’t do your body any favors. It’s therefore vital that you find ways to move around in order to keep the circulation in your body moving and to stave off unwanted fat or weight that may well be creeping up. Staying stationery for long periods can also lead to backache, stiffness and headaches.
If you don’t even get up and move around every so often you’ll gradually begin to feel uncomfortable, your energy level’s decline, and you’ll probably feel lethargic and possibly begin to lack concentration resulting in below par productivity.
Office exercises isn’t a total replacement of your regular exercise routine but it will help to keep you active, burn off the excesses of the day and hopefully give you the motivation to partake in regular exercise to keep your body trim and healthy.
There are plenty of different types of exercises you can do in the office. A lot of it depends on the space you have and what kind of building you’re in. Keep them simple and easy to remember. The following are some stretches that you might like to try at your office desk.
Slightly increasing your level of activity will aid in increasing your energy level. All it takes is a few minutes a couple times a day to relieve work related stress, increase your energy level and ultimately make you healthier. Remember to breathe while you are stretching in order to maximize the benefits of the exercise. You should ideally hold each stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds. Hold for longer if your boss isn’t keeping an eye on you!
Stretch at Work
Chest Stretch – Sitting or standing, interlock your fingers behind your back. Making sure your shoulders stay back and down, lift your hands up as far as you can. Relax.
Triceps Stretch – Sitting or standing, bend your right arm back behind your head, so that your palm is between your shoulder blades. Use your left hand to assist the stretch, by pushing your right elbow slightly back. Relax. Repeat with your left arm.
Lower back stretch – Sitting in the middle of your chair, both feet flat on the floor. Grip the top of your right knee with both hands, and pull it towards your chest. Repeat with your left knee. Move your head slightly down towards your knee for a further stretch.
Neck Stretches – Slowly tilt your head toward your shoulder and hold. Change to the other side. Ease into this one slowly and steadily as the neck is easy to injure.
Arm Shoulders – Place your arm across your chest, hook your other arm around your elbow to ease the tension out of your upper back and rear shoulders.
Abs hold – Sitting in the middle of your chair, hold the edge of the seat with both hands. Contract your abs whilst lifting your knees towards your chest (keeping knees together). Relax. Make sure you don’t lean back.
Back of Legs – Lean forward at the waist either from the standing position or sitting and bring your chest toward your thighs. Slowly try to straighten your legs, stretching your hamstrings.
Thigh Stretch – Sit on the left edge of your chair or stand. Grasp your left ankle and gently pull it upward toward your buttocks. Switch sides.
Calves Stretch – Stand and lean into your desk with your heels on the floor. Bend your knees slightly to stretch your Achilles tendons.
Exercise at Work
For more dynamic exercises, which involves more movement and that you can do around common office areas (e.g. empty conference room or photocopy room or stair well) check out the exercises below. They should be performed in a controlled and un-rushed manner. Make sure you warm up prior to starting these with a few mobility exercises or a gentle stair walk first. Add a few more repetitions if you feel comfortable.
Message in Person – At work, try to communicate with your colleagues face-to-face as much as possible. Instead of using the phone or e-mail to send a message, simply walk to your co-workers desk or office. Not only will you earn valuable steps throughout the day, you might start a trend in your workplace.
Stair Walking – walk up and down a few flights of stairs several times. You can increase the intensity by taking two steps at a time. This will ‘fire up’ your thighs and buttock muscles to make them work harder.
Side Stepping Stair Walking – As before but this time start walking sideways up first! Try walking a whole flight of stairs with your right side leading, then swap over sides for the next flight of stairs. When you reach the top, do the same again on the descent.
Bench Dips – Using your chair or sturdy table, place your hands on the edge and bend your arms to slowly lower yourself until your arms are at a right angle. Raise yourself by extending your arms. Aim to achieve 10 to 15 repetitions..
Assisted Push-up – In the office, you can do pushups anywhere there’s a solid object. Against the wall, desk or door frame. For example, lean up against your desk and push yourself away from the desk while in a leaning position. Ensure your chest touches the desk for maximum effect. Aim to achieve 10 to 15 repetitions.
Leg Squats – In a standing position, have your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees in position so your bottom goes back and down. Extend your legs to return to the start position. Aim to achieve 10 to 15 repetitions.
Calf Raises – Stand up and place your hands on your hips for balance. Now raise all your body weight on the balls of your feet. Slowly lower until your feet are flat on the floor again. Aim to achieve 10 to 15 repetitions.
Make Time to Workout
Exercising in your office is about making life easier for yourself. Whether you’re having a good or bad day in the office, any sort of exercise will make you feel better. A few minutes of office exercise will refresh concentration and relieve muscles.
So break up your work day to include some or all of these simple, yet effective exercises. It all leads to a more productive and healthier you. In fact, while I am writing this article and working on the computer, I’m sitting on my stability ball and set an alarm clock to remind myself to get moving every 30 minutes!
Please Note: Consider your company’s health and safety regulations when doing any of these office exercises.
Cornel Chin is a high profile fitness expert to the Stars with more than 20 years of experience as a fitness professional. He integrates his diverse background to create an all-encompassing approach to fitness. Cornel is credited for getting Leonardo DiCaprio into shape in double-quick time for the film The Beach, and, as a leading fitness expert, he is a frequent guest on numerous television and radio shows throughout the United Kingdom. Cornel has also been featured in, and regularly contributes to, a host of leading international publications. He writes a monthly feature for Women’s Fitness magazine and is also the author of two popular fitness books which are both endorsed by his celebrity clients. You can purchase Cornel’s new book Celebrity Body on a Budget March 1st at bookstores nationwide and SportsWorkout.com.
Click the links below to get a sneak peak inside the book.