3 Chair Workouts to Keep You Fit at Work

By Angela Tague in Healthy Feeling

I’m at my desk for hours at a time, but that doesn’t mean I’m just sitting still. I’ve figured out how to start moving without actually getting on my feet.

During a conversation with my yoga teacher about her chair yoga class, she explained a few poses and movements that she adapted for low-impact chair workouts. These exercises are perfect if you want to burn a few calories, stretch your muscles, and build lean muscle while seated.

As with all new exercises, if you notice any pinching or discomfort, please stop immediately. Feeling your muscles stretch is normal; sudden zaps of pain are not. It’s always best to talk to your doctor about any new health regimens before getting started, even chair exercises.

The Seated Hula Hooper

Channel your inner Elvis fan, and swivel those hips! While seated, tighten your core muscles and draw circles with your hips. I like to envision my bellybutton leading the way while drawing an apple-size circle. After 10 rotations or so, change direction.

This exercise might look a little silly in the office, so put on upbeat music. People will just think you’re getting into the groove of the tunes while you stretch your hips and lower back.

The Neck Pocket

I’m always looking for ways to tone up the loose skin on the underside of my upper arms. In the seated yoga class, they pretend there’s a pocket on the back of their neck and carefully place a water bottle in it.

Start by sitting up straight to extend your spine, then grasp a sealed beverage and raise that arm straight above your head. Now, keeping your elbow stationary, bend at the joint and lower the bottle into the imaginary pocket on the back of your neck. Raise and lower the bottle several times, and don’t forget to switch to the other arm, too!

The Foot Circles

While seated, extend both legs out in front of you so they’re parallel to the floor. Just holding them in the air for a count of 10 might be enough of a challenge for your leg muscles, balance, and abdominals. If you can, start to draw basketball-size circles with each foot. (Your legs will look like an old-fashion eggbeater.) Reverse the rotation halfway through to balance out the exercise. To burn even more calories and challenge your coordination, make your arms do an eggbeater motion at the same time!

You can work out at work if you really want to—it just takes some creative thinking (and a little privacy if you don’t want your co-workers to think you look silly!) Regardless of how you look, sneaking in five-minute chair workouts each hour that you’re seated can keep your blood pumping and reduce fatigue.

Tell us how you like to workout at work and tweet your insights to @TomsofMaine!

Image source: Pexels

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

Anytime you can get extra movement into your day, capitalize on it! Whether it's a walk at lunchtime or gyrating in your desk chair, it's good to keep your muscles moving. If you work in a small office, consider making chair workouts part of the daily schedule to break up the afternoon slump or long meetings.