Easy, Sneaky Workouts You Can Do in the Office from Easy, Sneaky Workouts You Can Do in the Office

Easy, Sneaky Workouts You Can Do in the Office

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Easy, Sneaky Workouts You Can Do in the Office

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Exercise does not have to be done in one chunk to experience the benefits. Sporadic exercise throughout the day can be very effective, says “V” Maurya M.D., a certified personal trainer and board-certified physician. “A few strong muscle contractions here and there can provide the necessary stimulus to create changes in your muscle,” he adds. Prolonged sitting increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.  “It also decreases mental function and deprives you of mood-elevating neurotransmitters,” Dr. Maurya says.  And this isn't something you can totally counteract by hitting the gym for an hour after work. The 6-hour period of continuous sitting during the workday will still carry a negative impact despite your efforts to exercise outside of work.  “So it's imperative that you use every opportunity at work to move around,” he adds. It will even increase productivity and reduce stress.

Jump Squats

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Restroom breaks are great for squeezing in some exercise. [See: The Best Strength Moves for Losing Fat] “I have ADHD, and require intermittent exercise to keep my brain calm and focused,” Dr. Maurya says. “I used to sneak off to the bathroom frequently as a practicing physician, preferably a private restroom where I could knock out some jump squats (with soft landings to keep from drawing attention) or push-ups. I would exert myself but stop short of being totally out of breath or building up a good sweat so that no one noticed,” he adds.

Pacing

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“I would pace around while reading something, and do my paperwork on a high countertop so I could do it standing,” Dr. Maurya says. Sitting is one of the worst things you can do for your body. “If you are actively looking for excuses to move around, you'll find opportunities.”

Triceps Kicks

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Doing a triceps kickback while leaning forward does allow the triceps to contract against gravity, which provides a minimum amount of resistance, Dr. Maurya says. But don’t expect significant change in muscle mass. “To make a difference you need to add some weight, which can start with something as simple as a can of soup or a water bottle,” he adds. Finding something to use as a weight should not be a problem.

Stretches

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Dr. Maurya says he likes to use bars alongside the toilet in the handicapped stalls for stretching.  There is no excuse for avoiding them while at the office. They take practically no time and feel so good. You need to stretch your muscles in order to avoid injury next time you train or to simply prevent soreness. The simplest example is flexed-elbow shoulder circles – it increases shoulder joint mobility and keeps your upper-body blood flowing.

Move Your Ankles

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As far as exercises you can do under the radar, moving your ankles in circles to keep blood circulating to your lower legs can help prevent blood pooling in your legs,” Dr. Maurya says. “Stagnant blood in your leg veins can cause clots which can sometimes travel into your lungs causing a potentially life-threatening condition known as a DVT, or a deep venous thrombosis. “ Clots from a DVT can travel upwards to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism, a condition in which lung tissue can die from lack of circulation.  

Easy Leg Workout

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Simply getting up and down from your chair serves as a squat, Dr. Maurya says. Many people don’t push their hips back far enough during a squat and having the chair behind helps to correct this mistake. “Grabbing your chair backrest, you can also perform torso twists. Simply extending one leg while seated and reaching for your toe provides an excellent hamstring stretch,” he adds.

Burpees

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“Good old-fashioned burpees,” as Doug Sklar, founder of PhilanthroFIT Training, calls them, are exercises trainers swear by. Start by doing 20 burpees in a row, and then walk a little bit. Then do 15, and walk (rest) again. Continue the countdown. You can try a little different approach: Run up the stairs as fast as you can and do just 5-10 burpees. Then run down and do burpees again. You can easily burn 80-100 calories in a few minutes of this.

The Elevator is Out of Service

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Before, after and during lunch, hit the stairs. Just 10-15 minutes walking up and down several flights get your muscles burning. If you want to get stronger, faster and avoid injury while saving time, do them. There is no sugarcoating this exercise. Just do it. Also, recent research has found that brain age decreases by 0.58 years for every daily flight of stairs climbed.

Planks

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The only people who may get sincerely very excited about planks are trainers. They swear by them. Nothing works your abs like this very basic isometric exercise. They actually help strengthen your entire body—from your core to you lower back and shoulders. Do several of them, each lasting for about a minute.

Push-ups

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This one is pretty straight forward but essential. If you’re looking to improve your upper body strength, or in some of these cases, the strength in your entire body, than a push-up is a great choice. Keep your body straight at all times when you bend your arms and lower yourself. If you can go low so your chest touches the ground, do it. But don’t even try if you are having trouble.

Wall Sits

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This is a perfect static exercise to strengthen the quadriceps muscles. As always, sit against the wall for as long as you can. Do several sets of 30 seconds or a minute. Wall sits, a great exercise for a perfect beach bottom, can be done anywhere you have a wall that is sturdy. 

Lunges

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You can do static lunges next to your desk. Whatever kind, don’t skip them. They are a quintessential exercise, perfect for toning your legs and derriere. Keep your upper body straight during the entire exercise. Step forward but make sure both of your knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to your original position.

Use a Resistance Band

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This is one of the most inexpensive ways to build muscle, which is key for speeding up your metabolism. A resistance band, a.k.a. a tube, helps reduce the risk of injury and increases strength while also improving your range of motion.

Walk Heel-to-Toe

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How you walk is important for which muscles in your body are working and for overall energy efficiency.  Walking heel to toe is, for humans, the most efficient way. This is one of the workout secrets for longevity. It takes nearly twice as much energy to walk on your toes than it does to land on your heel. In addition to that, if you walk the toes-to-heels way, then you’re reducing the amount your Achilles tendon stretches, and your soleus muscles (under the knee to the heel) don’t work as much.  

Toe Raises

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This is a good exercise for increasing circulation and shaping/strengthening calf muscles, according to Angela Gallagher, Certified Group Fitness Instructor and Certified Personal Trainer. “As a bonus, if you can perform this exercise without holding onto anything, you will be engaging in a balance challenge, which is essential as we age to prevent falls,” she adds.

Bicep Curls

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They can be done with two water bottles in each hand to add resistance. The exercise helps strengthen the muscles. However, often people don’t do bicep curls correctly. Many times this exercise ends up being performed where the elbows are widely flared out or the shoulders and the entire body are used to throw the weight up.

Donkey Kicks

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They can be done pretty much anywhere, too, Dr. Maurya says. Same applies to side leg raises and calf raises. The name comes from the position of the exercise – you start on your legs and arms (4 legged-animal) and kick one leg back at a time. The American Council on Exercise named it one of the best butt exercises after conducting a study. Before you know it, you’ll be fitter, faster and more agile.

For the Core

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Try mountain climbers. This is another full body exercise, primarily used for cardio, which also builds strength. It’s a plyometric exercise that strengthens multiple muscle groups – core, lower and upper body. Also try plank holds, standing oblique crunches, alternating kicks, or Russian twists, Dr. Maurya says. “Your only limitations are the amount of privacy you have and whether or not you are willing to get on the floor (bathroom or otherwise) to perform certain exercises,” he adds.