Nowadays so many women are wearing a multitude of metaphorical hats. Between your work life, errands, personal relationships, and other responsibilities, self-care can often be placed pretty low on the totem pole. But when it comes to fitness, it's probably a whole lot easier to fit a quickie workout into your daily routine than you think. In fact, there are a ton of exercises you can do at work — wherever your office may be — that will keep you feeling loose, limber, and in shape even if you've only got a few minutes to spare.
Sometimes regular exercise can feel like an impossibility or just an inconvenience, whether it be due to financial restrictions (costly gym memberships or personal training sessions), not knowing where to start and feeling insecure about your skill set, or just simply not having enough hours in the day. But if the latter is to blame, there's good news. In just 10-minutes or so, you can actually squeeze in some easy moves that make a difference. Sound too good to be true? Take it from certified personal trainer Emily Diers, an instructor for on-demand fitness service obé, which offers easy-to-follow classes including HIIT, dance, strength, sculpt that you can do from practically anywhere.
Obé believes that fitness should be accessible to all, and to prove the point, Diers is offering some examples of yoga-based stretches, dance-inspired moves, and more exercises you can do at your desk, from your living room, or wherever you get work done — and you only need a few minutes to try them. Read ahead to six you can do (literally) right now, no excuses.
Diers suggests this neck stretch which may help counteract the tension that often comes with being seated in front of a screen all day. "Sit at your desk chair with the spine straight and feet on the floor and tilt your right ear toward your right shoulder," she says. "Reach the left fingers towards the floor and look down toward your right shoulder, keeping the tilt of the head and hold one second. Then turn to look up on the high left diagonal." Do this five times, then repeat on the other side.
If you're seated for most of your work day, chances are your intercostals (the muscles that help your ribs expand and contract when breathing) and obliques could use a dynamic stretch as well, which is where this move comes in handy. "Stand with feet hips width apart with a gentle bend in the knees, make fists with both hands, and bend the elbows in to the waist," Diers instructs. "Lean your torso to the right as you reach the left arm overhead and the right arm toward the floor. As you reach, open the fists and spread the fingers wide. Close the fists and bend the elbows as you come upright to pass through center." Then reverse and repeat, breathing into the ribs and the palms for about 20 reps.
Heart Open Plié
Even non-dancers can manage this ballet-based strength training move which aids in the rotation of the hips and offers a good chest stretch. "Stand with feet wider than hips width apart, externally rotated at the hip so knees and toes point outward, bend the knees, and extend both arms in front of chest at shoulder height, palms down," Diers explains. "Straighten the legs as you open arms side, rotate palms up, and bend the elbows towards the waist. Squeeze the shoulder blades to really open the chest and don’t let the shoulders roll forward." Then, plié again, this time returning the arms straight in front of you with palms down, and repeat the series again for 25 reps.
According to Diers, this dance-inspired move increases blood flow in the hips, as well as providing a chest-opening stretch. "Stand upright and clasp your hands behind your back, sealing the palms together," she explains. "Heavy the fist to drop the shoulders and traps and softly bend the right knee and tap the left foot next to the right foot. Keeping the clasp of the hands and the chest open, kick the left leg side from the hip. Bend through the left knee to return the left foot to tap the floor." Want to make it a bit more challenging? Try hovering the leg without touching the floor, using your other leg to help keep you stable. Repeat this one 25 times per leg.
Another dance-based movement, the snake twist works well in conjunction with the previous ones to open up your neck, chest, lower back, and legs, according to Diers. It will also give your obliques a burn. "Stand with feet hips width apart with soft bend in the knees and your hands behind your head," she says. "Bring your hands to your thighs as you tuck your chin and dive your head down and forward. Snake the head forward and lead with the chin and chest to arrive back at vertical, hands behind head." Add in a side twist by lifting one knee at the top and turning your opposite elbow towards it. Then snake through again and alternate for about 20 reps.
Wrist And Forearm Stretch
If excessive typing is part of your work day, this physical therapy and yoga-based stretch that can be done at your desk should be a welcome release for your wrists and hands. "From standing, put your hands on desk, palms down, but fingers facing toward your body," directs Diers. "Spread the fingers wide and spiral the elbow pits forward towards your desk." Go for an even deeper stretch by gently bending the elbows towards you and stepping slightly backwards. Then hold for 30 seconds.