8 Ways To Tone Your Body While At Work

Fitness is not restricted to the gym

By Lifestyle Guide

October 7 2018

While at work, you are rushing against time to complete as many tasks as possible while juggling many other responsibilities all at once. The project deadlines, urgent paperwork, and hundreds of unread emails notifications pinging constantly ultimately takes its toll on your health and particularly, your physical fitness.

In short, people generally make a trade-off to compromise their health and dedicate themselves to advancing their careers as far as possible in the shortest amount of time. Majority of them end up ignoring the great necessity that is active-living due to the burdensome workload that keeps them desk-bound most of the time. Recently, a Health Promotion Board (HPB) of Singapore analysis of nearly 30 years of data revealed that Singaporeans on average were 3kg heavier than they were 15 years ago.  Soon, the obesity rate will spike to 15% high in the next 7 years. Perhaps our fast-paced work life and lack of awareness towards methods that allows us to engage in active living are one of the few underlying reasons for this worrying trend.

 In actuality, this does not have to be the case - you can work hard within the confines of your desk while having maintaining an active lifestyle at the same time.

How do I exercise when I am so busy at work?"

The solution? No, it’s not to sign up for a new gym membership at the nearest gym located near your office. It’s not to encourage you to hunt for jogging shoes. And no, you can put down the idea of buying new barbells for this. If you are still feeling hesitant about giving this a go, let’s not forget that health and fitness also play an important role in your career development. A good physique can contribute to a great first impression and serve as an extended part of your own personal brand.

The solution is to work in the office and perform exercise at the same time. Here are some of the fat-burning exercises you can do in the office:

1) Calf Raise

Starting an exercise routine at work is not a pain at all. We are not going to suggest heavy sweat-breaking activities. You can start with this simple move even at your own cubicle seat.

Ensure that you are seated with your back straight. Your feet should be placed shoulder’s width apart. While seated, keep your toes on the ground as you lift your feet up while squeezing your calves.  Then relax your feet back to the initial position.

Perform this for 20 repetitions.

Body tone spot:

Lower body. Strengthening calf muscle and tone up your calves.

Advanced version:

Advanced training is for those who are up to the challenge, pushing you to the next level. If you are working on the same routine at the same pace, your body will eventually adapt to it and restrict your muscle development, resulting in the routine becoming less effective over time.

Try doing the calf raise exercise while standing up. This time hold a dumbbell 15-20% of your weight on each hand. For example, if your current weight is 60kg, you should be holding a 9-12kg dumbbell on each hand.

As you are holding the dumbbells, start raising your feet up and keep your toes on the ground. Repeat this for 20 repetitions for 3 rounds.

2) Wall Sit

This exercise involves sitting on an invisible chair. Try imagining yourself taking your usual sitting position, but without your comfy office chair.

To perform this exercise, you may need to have your work desk near to a wall. Start by leaning your body against the wall, slowly bending your knees to a 90-degree angle and hold your body in place there.

That’s it! You may continue your work while you are performing this desk squat. Try this exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and repeat. Do this for 3 rounds. As you get better try doing this for a longer duration every round.

Body tone spot:

Lower body. Strengthening your hamstring muscles, toning both thighs.

3) Stair Climbing

This is probably one of the most effective exercises to tone up overall body. Stair climbing is the ultimate fat burner among the work exercises listed here.

If you are so used to taking the lift up the floors, try climbing stairs from now on. An article from Livestrong.com stated that a person weighing at 72kg (160lb) who climbs stairs can burn up to 29 calories in 3 minutes. If you dedicate at least 30 minutes of your morning using the stairs as your alternative to get to your office, you will end up burning approximately a total of 290 calories, which is the equivalent to a plate of nasi lemak.

Body tone spot:

Lower body. It develops your abdominal muscle, gluteal muscle, hamstrings and quadriceps.

4) Tricep Desk/Chair Dip

Start by turning your back on to a sturdy desk/chair. Place your palm at the edge of the desk/chair. Bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Now, straighten your feet on the ground.

To begin the exercise, starts straighten up your arms to lift your body up. Next, slowly lower your arm to 90-degree angle again and repeat. Perform this exercise for 10 repetitions.

Body tone spot:

Upper body. Develops triceps and deltoid muscles. Tone up the arm and shoulder.

Advanced version:

Try working on a different variation. Instead of resting your leg on the ground, you can place your feet on a chair while doing dip.

In order to add more resistance, try clipping a dumbbell (15-20% of body weight) in between your thighs while you do the weighted dip. It gives more resistance and enables you to develop stronger triceps. 

5) Desk Push-Up

Performing this exercise may require a little bit more space and ensure that the desk is sturdy for safety purposes. First, position both your hands at the edge of your desk, both hands should be aligned on shoulder width.

As your body is inclined, keep your back straightened. Bend your elbow and lower your body, then push your body back to normal position again. Repeat the push-ups for 10 repetitions.

Keep note that your body must be straightened at all times to ensure the effectiveness of this workout. 

Body tone spot:

Upper body. Develops triceps and chest muscles. Tone up the arm and chest.

Advanced version:

You may practice push-up on the floor instead. Try pushing the limit by increasing the number of push-up repetitions, do this for 3 rounds. There are many push-up variations you can try - the close-grip push-up, wide-armed push-up or declined push-up - with each developing different parts of your chest.

6) Shoulder Shrug

Familiar? Well, of course.  People commonly show this as a body language in public.  If you do it right, it can tone your upper body too.

The best way is to perform this workout is at a standing position. Shrug your shoulder as high as you can, making them reach towards the tip of your ear. Avoid rolling your shoulder backward as it might cause extra strain or injury. Hold your shrug position for 5 seconds, then release. Do this for 10 repetitions.

Body tone spot:

Upper body. Develops trapezius muscle, which is the muscle group between your neck and shoulder. You will look good every time you wear a collar shirt.

Advanced version:

Dumbbell on each of your hands (20-40% of your weight) while you do shoulder shrugs. The resistance of weight helps gain more trapezius muscles, hence developing a better looking physique.

7) Waist Rotation

Prepare a sturdy chair, rest your body on a sitting position and keep your body straight. Squeeze your abs in, and rotate your body to the left. Hold each turn for 5 seconds before you turn the other side. You may need to hold on to the top of your chair to give an extra stretch to your abs.

Body tone spot:

Upper body. Stretch on the abdominal muscle and toning of your waist.

8) Walking

This last exercise does not need any instructions. As busy as you may be, it is crucial to keep your body active. The best way to do this is to set a certain amount of time for yourself to get away from your cubicle and walk around for a while. It can be just walking around your office a few times or going outside to stroll and observe the vicinity of your office area.

A casual walk for 30 minutes can burn 200 calories. Walking is essentially the easiest exercise to develop into a habitual routine for you to tone up your body while you work at the office.

Body tone spot:

Lower body. A long distance walk can give a tremendous benefit to body toning. It builds up your quadriceps, hamstring and glutes.

Advanced training version:

You can challenge yourself by walking on ascending terrain. If there are slopes or terrain surrounding your office, it is best to take this opportunity to tone your lower body.