Sitting. And sitting. And more sitting. The fact of the matter is, that’s how many people in the workforce spend their day. And while the CDC recommends approximately 21 minutes of physical activity per day to improve fitness, bone health, and reduce the risk of depression, fewer than a quarter of Americans are meeting this requirement. Since time is a leading concern for most people, squeezing in workouts during fragments of spare time at the office is becoming more popular. There are plenty of moves you can incorporate into your day — even in restrictive office clothes.
Exercise #1: Standing Side Stretches (Upper Body)
The How: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips. Extend one arm overhead, with your elbow near your ear. Tilt your torso to the opposite side, simultaneously extending your arm in the same direction. Drive through your core to bring your torso back to upright. Switch sides.
The Why: This exercise is ideal for stretching out your lateral abs, back, and shoulders. It also helps keep your spine moving, reducing your risk of lower back pain. And, if you actively engage your core (which you always should), Standing Side Stretches work to improve your posture.
Exercise #2: Wall Slides (Upper Body)
The How: Stand with your back against a wall. Raise your arms overhead with your full body touching the wall. Slide your arms down the wall until your elbows form 90 degree angles, like a cactus. Maintain forearm contact with the wall throughout the movement. Slowly slide your arms up the wall to the overhead position.
The Why: This exercise increases your shoulder flexibility, reducing the risk of a shoulder injury. It also gives you great relief from the hunched-over-at-a-computer pose we’ve all mastered — mobilizing your spine and improving your posture.
Exercise #3: Heel Walking (Lower Body)
The How: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Shift weight onto heels by lifting toes off the ground. Walk forward on your heels, keeping toes lifted off the ground. Walk backward on your heels, keeping toes lifted off the ground.
The Why: This exercise strengthens your shin and calf muscles, which is great for people who wear high heels and/or dress shoes. It also improves overall balance and improves imbalances that lead to concerns like plantar fasciitis and bunions.
Exercise #4: Reverse Lunge (Lower Body)
The How: Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step back your left foot. Bend both knees to 90 degrees. Drive through right heel and to come back to standing. Repeat on the other side.
The Why: This exercise is ideal for opening up your hips if you’ve been sitting in a closed-hip posture at a desk for an extended period of time. It also strengthens and tones your glutes, hamstrings, and calves while improving your strength and stability. Not only is all that true, but reverse lunges also improve your ability to get up and down from the ground… something everyone can use.
The truth is, you don’t have to change your clothes — or even break a sweat — to get the benefits of exercise. Just a few minutes a few times a day adds up and makes a difference. So give these a try. Then, when you’re in the grove and feeling adventurous, explore the Gixo Movement Library for even more work-wardrobe friendly exercise ideas.