As a guide, we should all be doing at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and aiming for around 10,000 steps. Whether it’s clenching your bottom at your desk, using the stairs instead of the elevator, or squatting whilst cleaning your teeth, you can work exercise into any day.
Let’s look at 10 of the best ways!
Raise those heels and toes
Too much inactivity can leave legs aching and feeling tight, but there’s plenty you can do without actually leaving your desk. The simple process of lifting your toes and heels off the ground, one at a time, activates the muscles in your calf. That’ll keep the muscle tone and help blood flow around the area. Push yourself back in the chair, put your legs out and straighten, and you’ll get a nice stretch in the calf too.
Just be careful when doing exercises at your desk that you don’t disturb others or bang things around causing items to drop or pens to spill ink. After all, we’re focusing on fitness here, not worrying about how to remove ink stains from clothes!
The first rule of maintaining a level of fitness when you’re lacking in time is to be as active as you can. Whether you’re sitting at your desk or on the sofa at home it’s vital to get up frequently, stretch your body and move about. The more sedentary you are the easier it becomes to stay seated, so set an alarm for every 15 minutes and make sure you get up!
Take the stairs
A really quick way of getting a cardio kick is to swap the elevator for the stairs. The more stairs the better! It might be hard at first, but as your body gets used to it you can go that little bit faster. Once you’re comfortable you can try taking two steps at a time, walking up quickly or maybe even repeating the stair climb. The next time you’re standing by the elevator, give it a miss and take the stairs.
Not only can you exercise by walking up and down stairs rather than using the elevator, you can also use one single step to get a 30-second or one-minute fitness blast too. Simply stand below the step and raise one foot up followed by the other and back down. Complete as many reps as you can in your allotted time and you should feel a slight burn in your legs; a good burn that tells you the muscles are working.
Walk and talk
Whether on the phone or chatting with colleagues, rather than sitting at your desk having the conversation, get up and walk and talk. This one tracks back to the point we made about using every opportunity to stand up and move about. It’s nothing too strenuous, but if you do it on multiple occasions during the day that’s plenty of steps towards your 10,000 goal.
Your bottom, or gluteus maximus to use the technical term, is the largest muscle in the body and plays a key role in posture, core strength and overall lower body power. It’s easy to work it out at your desk too. Simply squeeze the muscle and hold it for 5 to 10 seconds at a time, for ten to fifteen reps. It’ll work the muscle well, and nobody will even know you’re working out.
Squat to Success
Squats are quite possibly the best full body exercise you can do. We’re not talking about sticking a 100kg on your back and dipping as low as you can, we’re talking squats with your own body weight. They are extremely effective, and you can do them anywhere; in the washroom, whilst you’re cleaning your teeth or even when you have to take the lift.
Push your bottom out, keep your back nice and neutral and squat! Doing five to 10 body-weight squats at various times during the day takes very little time but can have a huge impact. It’s probably best to make sure you’re on your own when you do them to avoid strange looks!
Perfect Your Plank
Similar to the squat, a plank is very easy to perform and can be done pretty much anywhere. To do the exercise, prop yourself up on your forearms, rest on your toes and lift your body into a straight line.
From there just hold for the allotted amount of time. Do a test plank to see how long you can hold it for and then build from there. It might be 10 to 15 seconds at first, but you’ll soon be able to increase that up to a minute and more as your strength improves. Do three sets a day for a stronger core.
The Final Push
Push-ups are another easy-to-do, can-do-anywhere exercise. They work your chest, arms and shoulders primarily, but your core will get a good work out too. Again, it’s all about doing what you can manage at first and then add reps as you get stronger. Even when you can do as many as 50 at one time that shouldn’t take much longer than a minute. This is another simple and quick exercise that can really boost your strength over time.
Take A Deep Breath
Breath control is an often-overlooked part of fitness, but it can have a very positive impact. The practice of becoming aware of your breath can help you connect it to different parts of your body, boost relaxation and eliminate tension. All this can improve the efficiency of your exercises and make them easier for you to perform. In turn, you’ll be able to work harder and get fitter. In addition, simple deep breathing techniques can help open your chest and lift your posture.
Try breathing in for one big breath, pause for two seconds and then let it out fully. Feels good, doesn’t it? Spend two or three minutes at different times during the day focusing on your breathing and it’ll start to become second nature. The better you can control your breathing the more efficient you become, in terms of exercise, work and everyday life.
Be inspired by these 10 tips and you’ll find you can easily fit in exercise to your everyday life, even when you don’t have time to go to the gym.