We all know that sitting all day doesn’t do you any good, unless you are the Buddha and even he must have needed a walk occasionally. So we try to fit in gym time before work, after work, even a quick 20-minute swim at lunch. But it’s all so stressful trying to fit things in when we’ve got the shopping to do, the kids to collect and that box set to watch.
So what can we do to stay fit at work, you ask, while feeling your buttocks turn to mush and your legs withering until they look like Kermit the frog’s, just dangling off your chair? Well, we reckon if you’re crafty enough, bold enough and inventive enough, there are ways you can tone, flex and stretch, performing an office workout, without anyone knowing.
Just take the following steps on your office workout journey and you’ll have thighs like a racehorse, arms like Arnie and a tum like Peter Andre in no time (if that’s in any way desirable). So, without further ado, here it is, the ultimate guide to staying in shape while at work.
1. Toilet Squats
One of the difficult things about exercising in the office is the chance people will see you, exposing you as a weirdo and thus jeopardizing your career. The toilet, therefore, is a refuge for many; a place where you can work out with impunity. Sure, people might peep under the cubicle door, but so long as your feet remain still you can present the illusion of being ‘on the loo’ while engaging in thigh splitting squats over the toilet bowl.
This exercise will tone the old Gluteus Maximus, and don’t worry about grunting, groaning and panting during this one, your cubicle neighbor will think nothing of it, a good strain being de rigueur for the constipated office exec. They may even offer quiet words of encouragement.
To perform the office workout toilet squat, you must enter a free cubicle, lock the door and position yourself astride the toilet bowl as if you were ‘dropping the kids off at the pool’. Meanwhile remain fully clothed. Lower yourself into a squat, keeping a straight spine and your knees in line with your feet. Make sure not to over extend the knee beyond the toes. You should feel the burn in the bum and thighs in no time. Do 5 reps of 20 to start.
2. Filing Cabinet Curls
Another danger of the office workout is being accused of slacking off. Your frequent disappearances to perform star jumps in the stationery cupboard for example may be noted by some of your more discerning colleagues. And so, it’s imperative we incorporate some ‘in plain sight’ workouts that give the illusion of diligence and staunch commitment to your profession. Filing cabinet curls fit the bill perfectly.
Simply stand in front of a row of filing cabinets, find two adjacent drawers around hip height and begin pulling them open and closed alternately. Keep a firm footing and a straight back. You can alternate between knuckles facing up and facing down to work both biceps and triceps too.
We should note here the additional danger of offices in transition to a paperless environment. You may be accused by some of being a Luddite or simply a technophobe. You should defend the continued use of the filing cabinets by suggesting that, in the event of a digital apocalypse, they would be a more reliable method of data storage. Do 5 reps of 20 for each arm daily.
3. The Boss Bow
We have mentioned the pitfalls of the office workout and the potentially deleterious effects on your career. This exercise, however, is sure to launch your earning power into the stratosphere. For the Boss Bow to be most effective, simply book ‘a chat’ with your boss in his office, close the door and then lower yourself gracefully into a Yoga child’s pose, knees spread wide, allowing your head and torso to fall to the ground, arms stretched out in front of you.To your Boss’s burgeoning ego this will appear that you are bowing down to him like a god. He will find this most pleasing indeed and will most likely earmark you for the next imminent promotion. The good effects are not just for your career either, you’ll get a nice relaxing spinal stretch, hip opening and a reduction in stress that will have you feeling richer in spirit and pocket too.
To your Boss’s burgeoning ego this will appear that you are bowing down to him like a god. He will find this most pleasing indeed and will most likely earmark you for the next imminent promotion. The good effects are not just for your career either, you’ll get a nice relaxing spinal stretch, hip opening and a reduction in stress that will have you feeling richer in spirit and pocket too.
4. Stairwell Lunges
People rarely use the stairs these days, which is great news for the office fitness enthusiast as you can nip off for flash workouts without being seen. So, while your workmates are stuffed behind their desks, you can be lunging, striding and heaving yourself about the place, getting seriously fit and burning off the morning round of donuts and cake.
Though there are numerous exercises you can do in the stairwell, we recommend beginning with simple lunges. These will help strengthen your legs stretch your calves and hamstrings and build a general resilience and good mood. Begin by placing your right foot at the top of the stairs and your left foot 3 stairs below. Keep your hips and chest facing forward and then place your hands on your hips. Lower down slowly and squeeze buttock and thigh to lift yourself back up. Switch feet and repeat. You will find that you return to your desk with a renewed vigor and enthusiasm for the day ahead.
5. The Lift-Door Prize
So far during your office workout, you have bonded with your toilet cubicle neighbor by vociferously sharing your squat-induced groans, been exposed as a data traditionalist by manning the filing cabinets and ingratiated yourself with the boss by bowing prostrate before him. Now for the real popularity winner: The lift-door prize.
For this, you’ll need to find a convenient vantage point close to the lift doors, where you can observe people entering the lift unseen. We recommend hiding behind a large pot plant or even secreting yourself amongst an array of venetian blinds. It is time to spring into action when you see a small group of colleagues entering the lift. Wait until the doors begin to close and then run toward the lift screaming “IT’S NOT SAFE!”
After this you may prise the swiftly closing doors open with all your might, even allowing the doors to almost close a few times before prising them open again. This will help you get in a few more reps and increase the dramatic effect. You’ll get a stellar chest workout and become an instant hero to your workmates who will feel that you saved their lives from a doomed elevator. Win, Win.