Exercise & Fitness


Fitness Equipment For Your Office Workouts

Your office is practically your home away from home: you spend eight or more hours there everyday, eat at least one major meal at your desk, and usually keep some clothes there as well. Even though you spend so much time in one place, it can be difficult to think of the office as anything but work, but it’s time to challenge your brain and consider your office the latest extension to your fitness program! Those eight hours that you put in at your desk need to have some activity in them beyond sending out emails and leaving your desk for just five minutes to do some exercise. It can not only improve your body physically but it can clear your mind and change your mood! You may not believe that it’s possible to actually exercise within the confines of your office, but with the addition of a few vital tools you can break for exercise whenever you feel like (within reason)!

When you’re thinking about exercise at the office, you probably imagine the infamous “take the stairs over the elevator” scenario repeated in so many women’s magazines. Taking the stairs is great and it does work to build strength in your gluteus maximus (buttocks), but variety is good. Use the stairs as your personal stairclimber a few times during the week but on regular days incorporate some of the following ideas into your day and not only will you build muscle and shape your body, but you’ll break your boredom as well.

One of the best pieces of equipment to have for the office is a set of hand weights. Most discount and sports stores carry sets that have weights ranging from 3-10 lbs. and have a storage rack included. These are usually not that expensive and are perfect for short weight-training sessions. You can store them under your desk (if there’s room) or beside a bookcase or filing cabinet. The rack will hold the weights in place so there will be no rolling around or stubbing your toe. Once you have your weights, plan to incorporate short sessions three days per week to allow adequate time for your muscles to rest and recovery. The obvious schedule would be Monday-Wednesday-Friday (unless your work requires you in the office on weekends as well), so think about those days and figure out the best times for you to stop and lift weights. Maybe you have a coffee break at 10:45 or 3:00. Whenever you can conveniently fit in a five minute segment for lifting weights, make a note. Try for four sessions throughout the day but three can work if needed. Follow a simple routine that works your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and other upper body muscles. Perform the movements slowly to get the maximum benefit from them. Remember to stretch your arms after finishing.

Another handy piece of office fitness equipment is a set of resistance bands. These bands are wide swatches of synthetic material that come in varying degrees of resistance and are usually color-coded as to resistance. Bands can be used much the same as weights. Place one end under a foot and hold the other end in your hand (you may need to adjust the length to get it just right). Hold your elbow close by your side and begin pulling the band up and slowly lowering down. You can use your bands for pull-downs as well, holding one end in each hand and raising behind head, stretching tightly and slowly lowering and raising. The main difference between bands and weights is that hand weights typically cannot be used for legwork while bands can. Tie one end of the band around your ankle and place the other end securely under your foot. Using the foot with the band tied around it, lift it a few inches off the floor and to the side, and begin lifting the leg out and back to work the thigh muscles and sides of the hip.

While not as glamorous as hand weights or resistance bands, good old-fashioned squats and lunges are still among the best exercises in the world to strengthen legs and buttocks. Standing in front of a chair with feet about shoulder width apart, slowly lower your body until your buttocks barely touch the chair, then stands up. Repeat for 3 sets of 15 repetitions. For lunges, begin in the same position and take one step forward with your right foot. Turn your back foot up until you are balanced on the toes of your left foot, lead forward so that your right knee forms a right angle with your leg, place hands on hips or on a chair for support, and slowly drop your body straight and then raise up. Repeat for 3 sets of 15 repetitions. You probably will want to close your office door while performing these movements lest your co-workers film you.

There are multiple options for fitting in exercise at work, even within the office itself. Invest a little money in weights or bands, or simply work with your body’s own resistance to shape and strengthen your muscles. No matter what method you choose, you will be pleased with the results.

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