Written by Jack Boardman
Best Exercises For Office Workers
Sitting is synonymous with office work, but many office workers consider themselves active people and fitness-focussed, with the prolonged periods of sitting a mere side effect of their role. An immediate answer: get yourself to the gym after the nine-five.
We specifically suggested the gym, as opposed to the likes of home workouts, because as an office worker you’re probably tuned into a routine – whether or not you’re happy about that is another thing. Don’t get us wrong, if you can see yourself getting changed in the work toilets and leaving to jog around the local park, do it! But bearing in mind the routine of your working week, the desire to put your feet up when you get home, and the temperamental British weather, it’s our way of thinking that a gym is at the very least a venue in which you can leave your stresses – if not just to help compartmentalise things and leave your health and fitness goals in one place.
You can do yourself a big favour by bearing in mind a few simple things throughout the day, such as standing up and taking a walk where possible, taking a half hour walk on your break, standing when taking calls… the list goes on. But in the long run, you’ll need to perform a few exercises that might be out of place on the office floor – though at least you’ll be able to demonstrate good posture when HR call you in for a gentle talk.
You will read and hear a lot of advice, including some below, concerning exercises that require weights and machinery. You should first of all – no matter your level of experience – keep in mind that if your back muscles have been unused throughout the day they will need warming up before doing anything too strenuous. If you rush in you may well find yourself with a far worse injury. We would, therefore, recommend light stretching before attacking any weights or anything too rigorous. If there’s a window of opportunity to stretch your legs and take a walk to the gym, do it. If not, think about getting on the treadmill or cross-trainer first – starting at a low-intensity pace.
This includes front and side planks. Hold for a minimum of thirty seconds to improve your core strength. When you advance, raise the platform or balance on a yoga ball with your forearms.
There are many names for these, but if there is equipment available that allows you to begin at a right angle facing forward so that you can extend your back, perform three sets of these.
Your abs will be in rest mode while sitting all day long, so sit-ups and abs strengthening exercises are good for strengthening the core.
Bent over row
Strengthen your back, lats and obliques with rowing movements. If your back is tender, be careful with the bent over row, opting for one that works your back in a way that feels ‘safer’, such as the seated row.
Correct your round shoulder with a chest fly and put your pecs to work. Go for three sets of eight-12 reps.
Work both your front and back to stay aligned by performing a reverse fly. Remember, these exercises are designed to align and correct, and don’t count towards any serious muscle building or cardio for the day. If you have more health goals beyond posture correction, consider these a warm up.