Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Strategies for Staying Fit at Work

Guest Post By Cat Smiley 

Sometimes, even crack-of-dawn boot camp sessions don’t balance out an entire day of sitting in the office working nine-to-fives. Even with walking the stairs, ignoring the staff room cupcakes and trying to finish on time so that you can take your dog for a walk, the dilemma stands.

Office jobs can make even the best of us feel tired and sore in all the wrong places, even those in great shape!

But hey, what’s a girl to do. Most of us have to work, right?
Here’s how to have the best of both worlds with strength training in the office. Okay so its not enough to get you ripped, but it’ll keep motivations and energy up.

Try these exercises every hour to relieve and prevent muscle tension. Stretching and body weight exercises will prevent leg cramps and spasms, plus boost your overall strength levels. Exercise is accumulative – 5 minutes of exercises every hour for 5 hours adds up to 25 minutes of strength training. Combine that with active transportation home by walking or bike and you’ll notice the difference in how you feel from day one!

Start with feet hip distance apart, move your butt back as far as possible as if you are about to sit into a chair. Most women find it easier to get deeper in the squat with a slight heel lift (place heels on a 1-2 inch thick book). Keeping knees over ankles, lower yourself to 90 degree angle so that your thighs are horizontal. Breathe in to go down, and out to go back up. Raise back up and do it again 10-15 times, as often as you can.

Definitely take your heels off for this one! From a standing position, take a big step forward and lower down to knee level so that your thighs are horizontal. Rise up and step forward with the opposite leg and do the same thing. Do these either in alternation, bringing your step back to a standing position – or as a walking lunge, stepping through with each leg.  Perform 5 lunges on each leg, 3 times, 3 or more times per week. Try doing it in conjunction with squats.

Calf Raises
Great exercise for when on the phone or waiting for a fax. Stand on toes, then drop up and down about 2 inches in a controlled movement, without bouncing.

Shoulder Stretch
From standing position with level shoulders, reach one arm in a straight position across chest, with the other arm pushing it towards you at the elbow. Hold for 30 seconds. This will alleviate tension in neck muscles as well.

Back Rotation
From your desk chair, sit up straight, place one hand behind you, take a deep breath in and rotate 45 degrees to look behind. You may experience a natural manipulation of your spine.

Hamstring Stretch
Probably best done if you have your own office! From a standing position place your foot on the desk, with straight legs, bend forward with a straight back towards the raised leg and hold for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. The hamstrings are directly related to the lower back, so if you have a tight lower back this exercise will alleviate strain.

About the Author:
Cat Smiley is a leading body transformation expert and has been named Canada’s top trainer three times by the International Sports Science Association. She is the author of The Planet Friendly Diet (coming Jan 2016) and owner of Whistler Fitness Vacations, Canada’s leading weight loss retreat for women.

Note from Editor: Thanks to Cat for the guest post and sharing her tips on staying fit at work!

Kelsey is a passionate vegan living in Houston, Texas, spreading the word about the benefits of eating a healthy, plant-based diet. She's also a minimalist enthusiast, a self-proclaimed financial guru of her household, and founder of The Little Red Journal.

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