Yes you can exercise at work - here's how

Do you feel like you are missing out on the opportunity to exercise at work? I´m here to tell you that there are officially no more excuses left in the book for not making your health a priority.

I've been working with corporates for many years and have come up with some simple strategies to allow you to exercise at work and lead a healthy, active lifestyle, even if you're office bound. 

My top tips to exercise at work:

Swap the sit-down lunch for a walk and talk

A lunch-time break doesn´t have to be sedentary, so grab a smoothie and meet a friend at a park or across the road for your weekly catch-up.

Move while you wait

If you added up all the time you spend waiting in a day, you’d be surprised – so use that time to move. Do side kicks while you wait for the kettle to boil or squeeze your abs while your emails download.

Turn off technology

Rather than emailing or texting your colleagues, walk to their desks. The more you walk around, the better. 

Use movement cues

If you work from home or a secluded office, when the clock strikes the hour, use it as your cue to move! Get up from your desk and do 10 push-ups, 10 dips, and a minute of ab crunches – if you do this five times a day, it will add up to about 10 minutes of exercise.

Take the stairs

In 10 minutes of climbing the stairs, a 60kg woman will burn almost 336 kJ. (More than the approximate equivalent to a slice of bread). Don't underestimate the value of taking the stairs over the lift. 

Put your multitasking talent to work

While chatting on the phone, walk around, climb stairs, do squats, lunges, side kicks or calf raises. 

Do an office workout 

No time to head to the gym at lunch? No sweat! Provided you have a change of clothes and one of my resistance bands, you can do a quick resistance band workout in your office.

Lower Body Resistance band workout

Simply download my printable workout here, shut the door, and off you go! 

Resistance bands are one of my favourite workout tools, because they're lightweight and portable, yet super effective at getting your heart rate up, while toning and tightening your muscles.

Step it up

Get a pedometer or Fitbit and track how many steps you take each day. You should aim for 10 000 steps. Find ways to increase your daily steps, for instance by parking further away and walking.

ALSO SEE: Why Fitbit is my fitness tracker of choice 

Who needs a static chair?

Invest in an exercise ball or a sit/stand desk (which adjusts your computer height as you alternate between sitting and standing) and enjoy the many benefits of actively engaging your core and moving rather than slouching at your desk. This allows you to substitute hours of being sedentary for activity while you work.

Stretch it out

Being desk bound means tight hip flexors and neck and shoulder strain. Stretch your hip flexors for three minutes on each side, three times a day.

Do this by getting down on one knee and leaning forward to feel a hip stretch. To release tension in your shoulders, clasp your hands behind your back in a straight line and draw them as far up behind you as you can.

For a simple upper back and shoulder stretch at work, try this: 

  1. Stand with your legs slightly apart and facing forward, knees bent. 
  2. Hold a pole or the wall with your left hand, twisting slightly to stretch your upper back and shoulder. 
  3. It's important that you still face forward. 
  4. Hold the stretch for 20 - 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. 
  5. Complete 2-4 sets. 

Tip: After this stretch, keep the movement going by swinging your arms gently forwards and a backwards for a few minutes, making sure to keep your back straight and shoulders down.