At the Office
The longer your workdays, the more crucial it becomes that you squeeze in breaks for movement. The value of little movements adds up fast: You can build fitness while keeping your energy high, your mood positive, and your focus strong.
Not sure how to make those breaks happen? Start by avoiding the elevator whenever possible. Don’t sit when you can stand or pace, and don’t call or email when you can walk to a colleague’s office.
Additionally, consider adopting an intermittent strength-training routine that you can perform over the course of the day, turning out a series of distinct body-weight exercises whenever you have a one- or two-minute break. Or, schedule two 10-minute activity breaks into your day, taking advantage of those low-energy moments when you tend to get distracted and lose steam (or feel tempted to hit the vending machines).
Try this 10-minute routine that builds strength without producing too much sweat. Some of the moves require a resistance band, which is a relatively inexpensive and portable piece of equipment for the office.
Chair pose: Stand with your feet 6 inches apart. Bend your knees slightly and push your rear backward, as if you were sitting back into a chair. Lift your arms as high as possible. Keep your body weight over your heels. Hold for 30 seconds.
Bridge: Lying on your back, place your arms at your sides next to your torso, palms down. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, hip width apart. Lift your hips as high as possible. Hold for 15 seconds. Release and repeat four times.
Plank: Lie on your stomach. Place your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor. Lift your body off the ground so you are balanced on the balls of your feet and forearms. Hold 30 seconds. Lower and repeat one time.
Back extension: Lie on your stomach with your arms by your sides. Squeeze your legs together as you lift your head, upper back, and arms. Keep your feet on the floor. Lower and repeat 15 times, holding the last repetition for 15 seconds.
High lunge: Stand and step forward into a lunge, sinking down until your forward thigh is parallel to the floor. Raise your arms overhead. Reach back through your rear heel and forward through your front knee. Hold 30 seconds.
Negative pushup: Starting from a high plank position with hands directly under your shoulders, slowly lower your body toward the floor. Try to take 15 seconds to reach the floor.
Squat: Stand on a resistance band, holding one end in each hand. Bend your elbows and lift your hands to shoulder height while squatting until knees are bent 90 degrees. Rise and repeat.
Chest press: Lie on your back on a resistance band and bend your knees. Get a good grip on the band with each hand. Starting with your elbows bent, press your hands upward until your arms are extended. Lower and repeat several times.
Seated row: Sit on a chair with your legs extended and heels on the floor. Place a resistance band under your feet, holding an end in each hand. Pull your elbows back as if you were rowing a boat, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Release and repeat several times.
Lateral raise: Stand with your feet on the middle of a resistance band. Grasp an end of the band in each hand, placing your arms at your sides. Raise your arms outward to shoulder height. Slowly lower and repeat several times.
Triceps extension: Hold one end of a resistance band with your right hand and raise that arm overhead. With your left hand, grab the other end of the band behind your back, near your waist. Extend your right arm, then lower. Repeat several times with each arm.
Overhead press: Stand with your feet on a resistance band and grasp a handle in each hand. With hands at shoulder height, press your arms upward, extending them overhead. Slowly lower and repeat.
This article originally appeared in the March 2019 print issue of Experience Life, Life Time’s whole-life health and fitness magazine.