5 awesome ways to get active at work
According to “101 Ways to Flip the Bird,” the freshly unemployed gentleman in the video above performs “The Double Draw.” The hilarious 2007 book also points out that our hero could have kicked the insult up a notch by blowing on his fingertips before holstering his middle fingers. He could also have deployed a more elaborate variation, such as “The Macarena,” “Dr. Evil” or “The Light Sabre.” Luke Skywalker gets cut off in traffic too, right?
Likewise, there are at least 101 easy ways to get active in the office, on the road, or at a job site. If people stare, who cares? They’ll be staring at your firmer physique soon enough! Here are five of the best examples of how to do exercise at work, starting with the video’s post-bird stair workout:
Taking the stairs
It really couldn’t be easier: Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator and you’ll burn around 10 calories per minute while strengthening the biggest muscles in your legs. If a climb takes five minutes, and you make the climb twice a day — when you arrive and after lunch, let’s say — you’ll burn around 100 calories and slide a 10-minute workout seamlessly into your schedule without any fancy equipment or a gym membership.
For added motivation, branch out from your usual staircase and climb up to a historic monument, or up a hill where a scenic view is your reward. If you really want to go for it, slip on some headphones and cue up “Eye of the Tiger” to do it Rocky style!
Walk it off
You don’t even need a second storey to fit some walking into your day. One easy way to do this is to walk to lunch. If you brown-bagged it, walk to a park bench a few blocks away. Or choose a restaurant, cafe or grocery store a few blocks from your office to eat your meal. Getting up from your desk and out of the office will help clear your head and renew your focus. Even a few minutes of light exercise like this can work wonders on your mood and physical health. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, men who walk 5 city blocks in a day lower their risk of heart attack by 25%.
Another idea: Park your car a little farther away from work — in a cheaper lot! — and walk the difference. No car? No problem! If you take the bus, get off a couple stops early and walk the rest of the way.
You’ve worked your legs, now how about those arms? This deskside exercise targets the muscles that run down the back of your upper arm, from your shoulder to your elbow. It’s a bigger muscle group than your biceps, so working your tris is a quick way to get bigger, more balanced and great-looking arms. Dips don’t require any equipment and can be done anywhere. All you need is a raised surface, like a desk, sturdy chair or table, to push yourself off of. Here’s how to do them:
- Sit on the edge of a chair or bench with your hands next to your thighs.
- Lift your body out just in front of the chair, with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent.
- Lower yourself down so your elbows bend no more than 90 degrees and push yourself back up.
Do a few dips until you feel the burn in your arms, and then try to do two or three more. Take a short break, and do another set. Do this two or three times a week, adding dips as you feel stronger, and you’ll notice a difference sooner than you might expect.
Another anywhere, anytime exercise, lunges build the muscles in your lower body that get you up stairs and across parking lots. Here’s how to do them:
- Stand up straight, with your legs hip-width apart.
- With one foot, step forward about 2-3 feet or whatever feels comfortable. Make sure you keep your back straight (focusing on a point in the distance can help).
- Bend both of your knees so they form a 90 degree angle. Make sure your knee isn’t further than the toe of the leg you stepped out with and your other knee isn’t touching the floor.
- Hold the position for 3-6 seconds.
- Push off with the foot you stepped out on and return to a standing position.
- Repeat with your other leg.
Trying doing 10 lunges, then take a short break and do 10 more. Combine two or three of these workouts with some stair-climbing and walking, and the extra strength and balance you feel in your lower body will make you feel healthier and more agile.
This move is ideal for multitasking because it keeps your hands free. Tear off a set while sipping coffee in the break room, using your smartphone at the bus shelter, solving a Rubik’s Cube on a job site…you get the idea. Here’s the scoop:
- Stand straight with your back up against the wall.
- Slowly lower your body until your knees are at 90 degrees.
- Your goal should be to hold for 15 seconds. The longer you hold, the more intense the wall squat becomes.
This intense leg-strengthener works many of the muscles in your lower body, which in turn will improve your hockey and golf game (or any sport for that matter), help you lift heavier objects without killing your back, and may increase your stamina in bed (and we don’t mean sleeping).