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Workplace Exercises

Posted on November 15, 2018 | No Comments on Workplace Exercises

In this day and age, the palpable importance of exercising is, should we say, “common sense.” This new mindset paved the ground for the resurgence of traditional as well as unconventional fitness centers (i.e. tai chi, Pilates, yoga, gym, dance centers) all over the globe in the past decade.

In the local scene, simply look around, within and at the outskirts of the city, the call for physical wellness is further amplified through advertisements and establishments. There is no denying it; everyone seems to be in unison acknowledging the inexorable need to practice at least one fitness activity, in order to promote a well-balanced lifestyle.

From a general standpoint, this is a remarkable development until reality starts to bite.
FACT: Exercise is a must.
FACT: Work denies exercise. Yes, work.

Despite the increasing awareness and interest in exercising, work (or working in an office) still remains the major culprit for why people could not exercise. Statistically speaking, hundreds of millions of office workers spend more than a quarter of a day either pushing paper, weaving through the computer and staying in one transaction-busy room, obstructing the opportunity to visit the gym or any fitness center for that matter. Most people struggle to find ample time for physical activity, while others completely sacrifice their physical wellness and give in to this urban lifestyle.

And nobody is exempted, from the rank and file to the top brasses of offices. Physical wellness is compromised. Sitting for prolonged hours, staying dormant in front of a computer and other office-related tasks, subject your body to a full risk of losing versatility.

Once you noticed your leg muscles easily cramping, neck hastily aching and back basically stiffening, the workplace has taken its toll on the physical you. In the longer run, serious effects include postural problems, muscle imbalances, poor blood circulation, pain, discomfort and ultimately decreased overall productivity (Have you seen Hilary Swank in “Million Dollar Baby”?)

But what can you do? What can we do? This is reality and reality is we could no longer exercise.

Problem Solved!
All everybody needs is a little touch of creativity and ingenuity. Being in a four-cornered cubicle should not stop your body from moving. Yes it is a challenge, but there is always an antidote to any obstacle.

Let me help you with this list of head-to-toe, easy-to-do office exercises and tips to abet a healthier, sharper mind and body in the workplace.

TIP: WALK
Again one of the most underrated movement abundant for everyone’s utility. How?

  • If you drive going to the office, why not park a few more meters away from your building entrance. Doing so will guarantee calories burned.
  • On coffee breaks, have your little chit-chats while walking instead of sitting in the pantry.
  • Take the stairs. If you are on the 30th floor, take off a few floors below so you can stretch those legs up.
  • Go to the next building or the mall for your lunch. Remember to buy something healthy.

Using this practice, you will average about 1,000-5,000 steps a day, a significant number to preserve your body’s optimal condition.

NECK
These movements will keep your neck muscles flexible and strong. Regularly do this to relieve tightness and muscle tension. Make sure you move your neck without moving your body.

For Flexibility

Chin to Chest
Simply keep the head in an eye-level position, and then do five to 20 repetitions of  “looking down.” Reverse the movement as well (looking up, bending backward).

Neck Twist
With your head in its natural position, look left, then right, and then back to the middle position.

Bend
Bend your neck sideways one side at a time. Do repetitions from middle to left, then middle to right afterwards.

For Strength

Chin to Chest
For resistance exercises, hold your forehead or chin with either palm while resisting the chin to chest movement. While doing the opposite direction, lock your hands together then place it at the back of your head.

Twist
Place your hand at your temple (one side at a time) while doing the movement.

Bend
Place your hand at the side of your head similar to the above exercise.
SHOULDERS
Most office workers have tension on their shoulders without noticing it. This is evident when the deltoids are slightly lifted upward causing stiffness to the shoulders and the upper back. That is indicative of stress.

For Flexibility

Arm Circles
One of the most popular exercises for the shoulders is the arm rotation. Swing your arms out like having wings, then rotate them to the smallest angle. Do 10-20 counts forward and backward.

Rotating Shrugs
Keep your hands on the side of your body (either sitting down or standing up), then rotate your deltoids inwards then outwards. Complete at least 10 repetitions.

For Resistance

Shoulder Pull (anterior deltoid)
Raise your arms to chest level while locking your fingers together (like a chain). The final movement is pulling your hands to opposite directions. Hold for at least 10 seconds.

(Inferior deltoid)
Amazing how a simple change of hand position can target a different muscle. This time, raise your arms while palms together (like praying) then push them inwards.

Shoulder Pushdown
Place your palms on your lap while pushing them downwards. Your legs will provide resistance.

CHEST

Perform these movements in order to maintain beautiful as well as strong pectorals even when staying for long hours at the office.

For Flexibility and Resistance

Modified Push Up
Either do this exercise against the wall, a cabinet or a desk. For higher difficulty, simply move farther away from resisting object.

Box Arm
Create a square by raising your arms in front your chest—locking them by holding the opposite elbow with the other hand. Start to pull your chest in and hold for at least 10 seconds.

Fly In
Raise arms on the side then flip them going inwards (without bending arms) with both hands touching each other. Do 15-20 repetitions of two sets.

BACK
Sitting, reaching, bending can put a lot of strain on your back, specifically your lower back. Given the situation of your back in the office, most exercises would require stretching and flexing.

Back Bend*
If your office provides a reclining chair, perform this movement by simply sifting still as the original position, then leaning back. Repeat the movement for 10 repetitions.

*You can also do this movement standing up with a wide base.

Hip Twist
With your back erect while sifting on your chair, turn to one side and reach for the opposite butt cheek and vice versa. Do at least 10 repetitions.

Back Extension
Sifting down, back erect, simply bend forward without your back forming an anchor. This movement could also be done standing up.

FINGERS
Your metacarpals (fingers) are usually the victims of poorly-regulated office temperatures. When the environment is warm, blood flows away from your arms to your heart. But more than that, the constant typing, flicking and flipping would eventually wear your fingers out.

For Flexibility

Close Open
This primitive movement will allow better blood circulation in your hands. Simply stretch all your fingers out, then close them tight. Repeat the motion for 15-25 repetitions.

Free Flow
Imagine the movement of octopuses and squids. Mimic the movement of their tentacles with your fingers alternately for at least 20 seconds.

For Resistance

Lock Tight
This exercise is very easy. Lock your hands together and push them in as hard as you can. Hold for at least 10 seconds to increase grip and strength. Do two to three sets.

LEGS

If you are a religious office worker, you know that your legs get the least movement while working, therefore reducing its muscle density and agility. Blood circulation is also trapped in your hip when you are sifting down further worsening your legs’ condition.

Let us isolate all of your leg muscles and assign exercises for each part.

QUADRICEPS AND HAMSTRINGS

Leg Flexion
Sitting down on a chair, with your legs forming a 90-degree angle, lift and straighten out your legs. Do the movement alternately or at the same time.

Leg Curl
Perform this movement while standing up. With a wide base, flip your leg backwards with your ankle touching your glutes.

Squats*
For those with back problems, you can lean on a wall while performing the exercise. For the rest, this movement can be done with the end position sitting down (on a chair).

*Very important, legs should form a 90-degree angle during the exercise.

Calves
A lot of people are not aware that your calf is composed of two muscles, the sartorious and the gastrocnemius.

Calf Raises
While sitting down, plant your toe inward as your knees move upward. Perform the movement while standing up to isolate the calf muscles.

Hip and Glutes

Hip Flexion, Extension
On a sitting position, put your legs together then spread them out forming a letter “V”. Repeat the movement to exercise your inner hip. Do at least 15 repetitions.

Hip Abductor
Standing up, feet together and hands on your waist, extend your legs outwards and high to a tolerable reach, then return to the original position. Do one leg at a time with 15 repetitions each.

ABS
The center of gravity, the core, the binding muscle—muscles that is. In the office, most if not all movement is supported by your abdominal muscles. However, I would like to put more emphasis on your midsection rather than isolating your “abs”. The midsection includes your stomach, lower back and trunk.

TIP:
Maintain a stable sitting position—no slouching, no arching, back erect, neck muscles relaxed. This may seem to be a miniscule task, but surprisingly, most people practice a very awkward sitting position whether eating, working, studying, etc. in their lifetime. And with a sustained habit for hours or even yours, your core is receiving a tremendous amount of strain keeping your upper and lower torso balanced.

When you are reaching down for an object or a pen, limit the times when you arch your back. Instead, bend your knees for better suspension of muscles.

Ab Crunch
Place your arms across your chest then with a straight back, no arching, bend forward until you feel the crunching of your belly. Do at least 20 reps.

Side Bends
Follow the procedure with the ab crunch although do this exercise while standing up. Perform 15 repetitions for each side.

Core Twist
Raise your arms in front of your body and put your hands together forming a wide-praying position. Twist from the middle to your left, then back to the middle then right. Do the motion for at least 20 seconds.

Don’t get it wrong. These exercises are not your usual muscle-pumping, adrenalin-running, balance-dealing regimen you are tasked in celebrated wellness centers. They won’t be giving you results such as drastic weight loss or extreme muscle tone up.

Instead, they serve as a beneficial alternative to prevent physical deterioration due to job pressures. Practicing these workplace exercises, your body will stay in perfect form while you preserve a pristine status in the office.

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