Being productive is about working smarter. You don’t necessarily need to work more hours, but more efficiently when you are working. That means you need to get your mindset in the zone and give your body everything it needs to remain that way.
Productivity will come and go. There will be certain times of the day that you feel more in the zone than others. Trying to work during these hours will be better for you, but your productivity can still wane.
You need to consider office workouts. They get your blood pumping to give your brain the oxygen it needs. But you can’t workout in the office, can you? Well, here are 10 office workouts that are perfect for boosting productivity, so you get more done. If your boss says anything, suggest he does them with you to see just how much better your work will be!
Start with Some Neck Stretches
Let’s start your workout with some basic exercises that you can do while sitting. These exercises will make it look like you’re readjusting your position to be more comfortable, so won’t rouse any suspicion or get your colleagues chatting about you.
Neck stretches are among the best office workouts for productivity boosts, because they are so simple. You just need to tilt your head from side to side, stretching the muscles as much as possible. Don’t pull on your head. Just let the gravity do all the work for you.
As you stretch, you’ll open up the airways and increase blood flow. Your body gains more oxygen, which means your brain gets the boost that it needs.
You don’t even need to stop working to do this workout. Stretch while you type if you find touch typing easy. You can also perform the workout while on the phone if you have to answer calls throughout the day.
Move onto the full neck roll, as long as you are medically fit to do it. You shouldn’t feel pain anywhere in your body while doing this exercise. If you do, it’s possible that you’re straining something. You should just feel a stretch.
Get Your Legs Working Beneath Your Desk
It’s time for another exercise that you can do while still working. Your upper body is the only part that will help to keep the blood flowing. Moving your legs is also important. This can help to avoid various health problems linked to long periods of sitting.
Sit with your feet firmly on the floor. You should sit like this for good posture anyway, but you need to sit like this for your workout. Life one leg up and then put it back down. Repeat with the other leg. It’s like you’re doing stair climbs but under your desk.
If lifting fully is too much, you can just lift the heel. There are also devices that you can buy that involve pumps that you push down with your feet.
You should feel the workout in your core and your legs. Don’t let your upper body move while you do your stair climbs. Try to do the exercise without anyone else realizing what you are doing. It will take some time to get used to at first, but you’ll find that it works to boost your activity.
Bend Forward While Remaining Seated
This exercise will be one that people see, but it’s one that looks normal. You’re stretching out your back, and most people in the office won’t think anything of it. In fact, they’ll join in with you to stretch their backs, and you’ll all get a boost in productivity.
Start by sitting upright in your chair, so your back is against the chair and your feet flat on the floor. You’ll want to push your chair out, away from the desk. Lean forward, keeping your back straight as you do it. Go as close to your legs as you can. If your back starts to hump upwards, stop what you’re doing and return to the last position before you lost the straightness.
Lift your arms up as you lean forward. This helps to get more blood flowing around your system. Your arms will suffer from a lack of blood flow if you type a lot.
Don’t force yourself forward or put a strain on your neck. If you do have back problems, you’ll need to talk to your doctor before performing this exercise.
If you do the exercise properly, you’ll feel a slight stretch in your lower back. You’ll also work your abdominal muscles.
Switch for the Chair Twist
Another way to stretch your back is to do a chair twist. This is one of those exercises that you will need to do carefully. If you stretch too much, you run the risk of damaging your neck and back.
Alternate this exercise with your forward chair leans to stretch out the whole back and boost your blood flow.
Like many of the other exercises, your colleagues will see this as a normal part of stretching rather than a type of exercise, so will likely join in with you. Unfortunately, it’s another that can’t be done while you work.
Sit upright with your feet firmly on the floor. Twist to one side and grab the back of your chair to help increase the pull. You shouldn’t feel pain, but you will feel stretching. You may feel a slight pop of the spine. One or two isn’t anything to worry about, but if there is pain associated with the pops, then you should stop and check with a doctor.
If you do have back problems, then like other exercises make sure you talk to a doctor first.
Make sure your whole spine twists in line. Your head should turn at the same rate, only so you are looking at you. The aim is not to twist 360 degrees!
Move onto the Chair Squats
How about some squats in the office? Okay, so this is an exercise that will draw some attention, but you’ll love how much more productive you feel. You’ll also love how great your thighs and butt feel. Squats are among the best types of exercises to do, whatever your exercise goals.
Instead of doing normal squats, do chair squats. This involves standing up from your chair and then sitting back down. You’ll boost the blood flow through your heart rate increase while increasing your breathing. The flow of oxygen couldn’t be better! You’ll also feel like you’re doing something, making you feel better within yourself.
When you squat, make sure your back remains straight. Don’t stick your butt out behind you, but keep your spine in line as much as possible, so your knees don’t go over your feet.
Try Out the Seat Leg Raises
Have you ever tried to do proper leg raises? They’re not the easiest and will build your core, but they’re not suitable for the office. The good news is you can get some of the benefits and boost your productivity with an office-friendly variation. It’s time to do seated leg raises.
And this exercise exactly has it sounds. You raise your legs up and down from the seated position. It’s up to you if you do both legs or just one at a time. Doing both legs together is going to give your core a better workout, but you’ll break out in less of a sweat with just one leg at once.
You’ll want to sit with your butt further towards the edge of your chair, so your upper back can touch the back of the chair. Hold onto the seat just behind your butt and then lift your legs up off the floor. Try to get your legs in line with the seat of the chair and then lower them, so they’re just an inch or two off the floor.
While you’re doing this exercise, you should feel a slight pull in your spine. This is normal. The exercise strengthens the whole of the core area and not just your stomach!
Grab a Stress Ball
Make sure you have a stress ball on your desk. This isn’t just good for releasing the built-up stress from the day but will also boost your productivity. There’s no standard exercise with the stress ball. You just want to use it every chance you get; whenever you take a break.
Make sure you work on each hand alternatively. The stress ball will help to build up the muscles in the wrist, as you run it through your fingers.
A stress ball is essential for office workers, as it helps to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury. Your boss will be grateful to hear that you can do more work because of this one essential desk item.
Stress balls can also help you think. They give you something to do to keep the blood flowing around your hands while you’re planning the next steps or looking for a file on the computer. You’ll be surprised how quickly you come up with inventive ideas just from this one little trick.
Try Out Abdominal Squeezes
Do you want another desk workout that your colleagues won’t see? It’s time to do some abdominal squeezes and pelvic floor exercises. These are the types of exercises commonly suggested to women after birth, but they are effective in boosting productivity, too.
Sit on your chair and draw in your pelvic muscles. You can build that pull up through your core muscles, drawing them all in and holding for a few seconds. Release them slowly and relax all the muscles, before you repeat the exercise again.
You should feel the muscles all around your lower back, and your abs pull tightly and up. You may even sense some popping in the lower back. If it’s not painful, then there isn’t anything to worry about.
Even if you have a bad back, you should be able to do these exercises. If you’re worried or feel pain, talk to your doctor.
Do an Arm Stretch
It’s not just your back or legs that need stretching out. Your arms will need a break now and then. While this is an exercise your colleagues will see, nobody will bat an eyelid that you’re doing it.
Lift one arm up above your head and then bend at the elbow. You want to reach back as if you’re touching your shoulder blade. Gently push on the elbow to deepen the stretch with the other hand if you can. Hold for about 30 seconds and then switch arms.
You should find that your whole stomach and chest open up while doing this exercise. There will also be a pull in the triceps and down your side. You shouldn’t feel any pain in your back or neck while doing the exercises.
Opening the chest is important. This will help you get more oxygen into your body, so you get more to your brain. Afterward you should feel a little more awake.
Go for a Walk
This isn’t going to be one of the easiest workouts to do regularly. However, once every couple of hours should give you plenty of time to get things done at your desk.
Walking is a sure-fire way to get the oxygen and blood pumping around your system. You also get away from the desk and take a physical break, which helps to boost your productivity. The break gives you a chance to mull over a problem or think about something else entirely. And you get away from the computer screen to avoid the strain that the LED lighting causes to your eyes.
If you need excuses, consider making everyone a cup of coffee or tea in the office. If you don’t want one, just grab a glass of water. You could also take a toilet break or collect prints outs and pass them around the office. There’s always something that needs doing.
It’s Not All About the Office Workout
The above exercises are perfect for boosting productivity levels. Many of them look like normal stretches or are invisible to your colleagues, and some of them you won’t even need to stop working. However, it is important to point out that a boost in productivity isn’t just exercise related.
You’ll need to take regular breaks and eat well throughout the day. Don’t be tempted by the sugary treats when you get the 3pm slump. Open a window for some fresh air, grab a glass of water, and find ways to boost the flow of oxygen to your brain to keep you alert.