There’s no excuse to sit and slump this summer! Even if it’s too hot for a lunchtime jog around the park, there’s plenty of exercise you can do in your office chair, without your colleagues even realising. Here are seven subtle steps to get fit and tone up in your cubicle.
1. Ninja buttock squeeze
If you’ve already got buns of steel, then your colleagues may spot you bobbing up and down as you ride your rock hard butt muscles. For most of us though, it’s more like crush the mush. Squeeze – hold for 5-10 seconds – and release. Do this 5-10 times.
2. Tummy tuck
There’s no need to suck in your guts to work your abs. Instead, focus lower, on the area between your hip bones – the “b-line” in Pilates. Breathe out – tighten an imaginary piece of string from hip to hip – hold, and relax as you breathe in again. Five repetitions will help you connect with those muscles.
3. Hip swivel
If your office chair revolves you can twist your torso and work those oblique abs! Hold the edge of your desk, plant your feet on the floor, and use your core to swivel your body from left to right and back. Do 4-5 sets of 29 rotations.
4. Secret kegels
They’re the ultimate secret exercise – and they’re great for toning pelvic floor. Kegels aren’t just for women by the way, men benefit from them too – research show they can improve your sexual performance. Find the right muscles by stopping urination mid-stream. Once you know where they are, try 5 sets of 5-second squeezes, working up to 10 seconds as they get stronger.
5. Invisible chair
For thighs of steel, the “Roman chair” aka wall sits builds strength and endurance and is popular for those planning a skiing holiday. Stand with your back against the wall, bend your knees and slide down until your thighs are horizontal. Hold for up to 60 seconds – or as long as you can. (The world record is just under 12 hours, by the way). You can do this while reading a magazine or a document – there’s no need to lose productivity.
6. Knees up
Do knee lifts from your chair. Keeping your back straight, lift one knee up as far as it will go, while pointing your toes. Then lower it and switch. Try continuously for a minute, and work up to lifting both knees at the same time.
7. Tiptoes pose
Sculpt your calves while you wait for the printer to finish, by doing calf raises whenever you’re standing up for a while. Using the edge of a table or desk to balance, with feet shoulder width apart, slowly raise your heels until you’re on tiptoes. Pause and lower slowly. Repeat 10 times.
Many of these will also work in other environments, such as a long haul flight where it’s extra important to keep up movement and circulation. Even just rotating your feet and ankles is helpful, if you’re sitting in front of a computer for hours on end.
Bonus tip for staying in shape in a desk job? Take the stairs. If you’re at the top of a tower block, take the lift half-way, then walk. Just don’t try this in a plane!
Chloe Quin is wellness expert with online health insurance provider Health.com.au, whose mission is to help Australians access affordable healthcare that’s easy to understand. Also a qualified yoga instructor, Chloe is passionate about empowering women to boost their health and fitness in fun, family-friendly ways.