It’s easy to get swept up in the holiday season with family feasts, festive drinks, or a little too many holiday sweets. No wonder a common new year’s resolution is to get more exercise. Even if your goal isn’t to get back into shape, moderate exercise is good for your health and mind. Engaging in moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day (which includes daily activities like taking the stairs or walking your dog) can reduce your risk for developing chronic health conditions and improve your mood.
We’ve compiled 10 simple exercises you can do right at your desk or in the lab. Getting up to stretch and move will have positive effects on your mood, productivity, and long term health.
1. Forward stretch or upper back stretch
a. Clasp your hands in front of you and lower your neck to align with your arms.
b. Press forward and hold for 10-30 seconds. Repeat if desired.
2. March in place
a. March while raising your knee up to your hips.
b. For a challenge, hold your knee up to your hips for 30 seconds while balancing on one foot. Repeat with the other leg.
3. Seated Leg Raise
a. While sitting upright, raise your leg straight ahead and squeeze your thigh muscles. Hold this position for 5 seconds before repeating with the other leg.
b. For a challenge, hold the position for 30 seconds or more.
4. Seated Rotation
While sitting upright, bring your arms up and bend your elbows. Keeping your abs contracted, rotate to the right while keeping your hips and legs facing forward. Bring your body back to the center and then to the left. Go slowly, while focusing on the stretch at the torso.
5. Desk push-ups or plank
b. For an alternative, you can even try doing a push-up against the wall!
c. For a plank, similar to a push-up, place your hands at shoulder width on your desk or lab bench. Keep your back straight and your core tight; hold your body at an angle for 30 seconds. For a challenge, hold your body for 1 minute or longer.
6. Chair dips
a. First push a sturdy chair (preferably non-rotating for beginners) against a wall or desk. Sit on the edge of the chair and place your hands next to your hips with palms down and fingers grabbing the chair. Push away from the chair, drop down, then use your arms to push yourself back up. Repeat.
b. For a challenge, keep your legs straight out.
7. At your desk squats
You can do these anywhere and anytime. All you need to do is stand up, lower your body down to a near-sitting position, then stand up again. Repeat as many times as desired.
8. Wall sits
Slide your back down a wall until your hips are at the same level as your knees, and your knees are together at 90 degree angles. Maintain the position for 30-60 seconds, then release and rise up. Repeat 15 or more times.
With one leg in front of the other, gently lower the knee of your back leg towards the floor while your front leg should be bent with your knee at hip level. Stretch, then rise back up. Repeat with the other leg. Try at least 10 times for each leg.
10. Take a walk and stair climb
a. Take a walk around your office building, outside if you’re able and climb any stairs and take a walk on that floor.
b. For a challenge, set an alarm that reminds you to take a short walk at every hour, even if it’s for a few minutes.
. . .
We hope these tips help you find more ways to stay active at work, at home, or in the lab!