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Office Exercises to Keep You Moving & Help with Your New Year’s Resolutions

If you’re like most Americans (including us!), you’ve made resolutions time and time again with the best of intentions, only to watch them fall by the wayside before Valentine’s Day. Any guesses as to how many people actually stick with their New Year’s resolutions all year long? Reportedly, it’s pretty grim – less than 8%!

Year after year, the most common resolutions for adults in the United States are exercising more, losing weight, eating healthier, and saving more money.  So how can you ensure that you don’t fall into the 25% who’ve lost their motivation by the end of January? We’ve got a few tips:

Break Big Goals into Bite-Size Chunks

As mentioned above, if your primary goal for 2022 is to get healthier and exercise more, you’re not alone. But if you bite off more than you can chew right off the bat – like signing up for a marathon in February when you’ve never run before – you’re likely setting yourself up for disappointment… and probably an injury or two. It’s great to have lofty goals to work towards, but setting smaller goals each month that build up to your big goal? Even better.

If your goal is to move more in 2022, start by walking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, like walking, per week. Struggling with the concept of fitting that into your schedule? Try lacing up your shoes and slotting it into your lunch break or taking a conference call on the move. The math works out pretty perfectly… you can knock out your 150 minutes but doing 30-minutes 5 times a week. As you progress, tweak the goal.

On top of the physical benefits of more movement, there are some serious mental perks. According to a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study, college students who took quick, 10-minute walks performed much better after moving on both cognition and memory assessments.

Buddy Up!

Traditionally, people are much more likely to stick to something if they’ve got a partner around to hold them accountable, so why would New Year’s resolutions be any different? Find someone in your sphere (or make a new friend!) who has similar goals and work towards them together. Set time to exercise together or swap healthy recipes.

Do it at Your Desk

Most of us live a pretty sedentary lifestyle these days – 67% of adults report sitting for more than 8 hours per day. But between work and other responsibilities, it can be hard to find time to build extra movement into your day.

Instead of writing it off altogether, try squeezing in a few minutes of exercise at your desk every couple of hours. Below are a few moves that are both good for your body, can be done with minimal space and no gym equipment, and will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to get back to work. Have an office buddy whose also working towards a fitness goal? Meet in the breakroom once or twice a day and work through these together.

  • Calf Raises – Standing evenly through your feet and squeezing your thigh muscles, lifiting and lowering your heels in a slow and controlled manner. If helpful, place your hands on a wall, or the back of your chair, for support.
  • Push Ups & Planks – Not big on the idea of getting down on the ground in the office? Knock out a couple of sets of push-ups and 30-second planks by leaning on your desk. Your body weight will help to keep this challenging.
  • Bicep Curls – No dumbbells at your disposal? Use a water bottle or a canned good from the office kitchen as a makeshift weight and do a few sets of bicep curls.
  • Chair Squats – Using your core and leg muscles only (no help from your arms!) stand from your chair and sit down again in a controlled manner. If your desk chair rolls, best to move it to the side and simply do traditional squats.
  • Leg Raises – While sitting in your chair, straighten your leg so it is parallel to the floor, holding it in place for 10 seconds before returning your foot to the floor. Alternate legs, repeating regularly for a few sets. Once you build up strength, try adding resistance by holding a briefcase or heavy book / binder on your legs while completing the exercise.
  • Tricep Dips – Scoot to the front of the chair, with both hands facing forward. Place palms flat on chair, bend your elbows straight back, and lower yourself straight down several inches, keeping your back as close to the chair as possible. Then straighten your arms to rise back to start. Again, best to skip this one or find an alternate, stationary surface if your chair is on wheels.
  • Lunges – Bring one leg in front of you and extend the other behind you. Slowly bend the knee of your front leg, forming a 90-degree angle (your knee shouldn’t extend past your toes), while gently bending your leg and lowering your back knee to the ground. Raise up slowly. Complete 10 reps before switching legs. These can be done stationary or on the move.

Looking for a few bonus exercises or suffering from a bad case of text neck? Check out this article for some exercises you can do to alleviate tension in the neck and shoulders, written in part by one of our expert Clinic Directors, Candace Morton!

Give Yourself a Break

Saving the best, and possibly most important, tip for last. We live in a chaotic, busy world! Even with the best of intentions and a partner to keep you on track, it’s possible to lose focus and get off track. Some days, you may not have the motivation, or your body just isn’t feeling up to it.

If you miss a few days, or even weeks, don’t write it off altogether or punish yourself for it. Instead, be patient with yourself – renew your commitment and try again. Nobody is perfect! But you can’t reach your goals if you don’t keep trying.

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