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Five Full Body Exercises for the Office

Weekly-Fitness-GoalsAside from hiking outside everyday, Mountain Trek’s program also utilizes fitness classes to ensure you’re strengthening muscle, improving your flexibility, getting your heart rate up with the help of cardiovascular exercise and, of course, having fun! In fact, the chart seen here is used to describe to arriving guests what they’ll experience throughout their time with the program.

You’ll also notice in the centre of this graph the fact that the American Health Association recommends a person take a minimum of 10,000 steps a day. (Meanwhile, the average North American is walking half that.) Ten thousand steps may seem daunting considering it’s about the equivalent of 30 city blocks but the best way to tackle them is to break them down over the course of the day. The moment you decide to walk up stairs instead of taking the elevator, park a bit further away from the front door of the grocery store and go for a walk around the block after dinner, you’ll find yourself reaching 10,000 steps no problem. There are also many tracking devices out there including FitBit, Jawbone and FuelBand that will count the number of steps you take a day.

In addition to walking everyday there are other full body exercises you can incorporate into your daily schedule. Many people think they have to go to the yoga studio or fitness gym in order to exercise but the fact is you can work out anywhere – even in your office! Obviously we at Mountain Trek are big fans of getting outside and enjoying the sounds, sights and smells of nature but if you’re too busy for that, you can still get in a quick 15-minute exercise session right beside your desk. Here are five full body exercises that will work many areas of your body and leave you feeling recharged and ready to tackle whatever’s next.

#1. CROSSES

full-body-workout-1This one is actually a lot of fun. Just stand up from your desk, step backwards and ensure you have enough room around you to swing your arms. Stand with your legs should-width apart and reach your arms straight out to the side. Bend your hands at the wrists and then slowly move your arms behind you as far as they’ll go. (Do not over-exert yourself though – only go as far as is comfortable.) Now hold your arms back there for five seconds then bring them back in line with your shoulders. Start with one or two sets of 10 and then work up from there. This is an easier, yet excellent, exercise to help strengthen your shoulders, forearms, and wrists.

#2. LUNGES

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The person in the photo above is actually doing a yoga version of this exercise and the one we’re recommending you start with is much easier. Just ensure you have enough room in front of you in your office to take a large step. Start with your feet hip-width apart and your arms relaxed and at your side. Now take a large step forward with your right foot without moving the rest of your body. Plant the foot against the ground and then slowly bend your right knee until it’s at a 90-degree angle while at the same time bending your left knee slightly until it lightly touches the ground. (An advanced version of this lunge is to keep your back leg straight but for now you should bend it a bit.) Now push up with your front leg to return to the starting position, and repeat with your left leg. Start with two sets of 10 for each leg. Obviously this is a great exercise for your legs as it strengths your quads, calve, hips and more.

#3. Cat Pose

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The next two exercises require your hands be on the floor so ensure you have enough room to stretch out, that the area is clean and that no-one’s going to walk in on you unannounced. (Although maybe if they did you could teach them a thing or two about the importance of exercise no matter where you are.) To start, get down on your hands and knees and arch your back up so that you resemble a cat stretching after having just lain in the sunshine all afternoon. Hold that for a few seconds while continuing to breathe and then lower your back and dip it into a U shape. Also hold this for a few seconds while breathing and then repeat. Do one or two sets of ten. This exercise helps relieve lower back pain while also helping to strengthen it.

#4. Plank

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Of all the exercises in this list, you might find this one to be the most challenging but the good news is you can start by using your elbows first and holding the pose for just a few seconds. From there you can work your way up to straightened arms (as seen in the photo above) and longer times. Start with your stomach on the floor and then prop yourself up on your forearms ensuring your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Now slowly rise up onto your toes and straighten your body like a plank. Hold for 10 seconds (or however long you can) and then lower yourself back down. Start with one set of 10. This is an excellent exercise that strengthens your core including the muscles that support your spine. It’s also a great alternative to sit-ups, which can be challenging as they require excellent technique in order to ensure there isn’t any strain on your neck or back.

#5. Bent Over Rows

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For this last exercise you’ll need something to hold such as a full bottle of water, a book or anything that’s easy to grasp but has some weight to it. You’ll also need a sturdy chair – one that doesn’t have rollers or that has its casters in a locked position. If the chair isn’t wide enough to put your knee and your hand on then no problem, just put your hand on it and then lean forward ensuring your back is straight but relaxed and your knees are slightly bent. Hold the water bottle or any item with the opposite hand to the one on the chair and let it rest near your thigh. Now bend your elbow, lift the weight up toward your armpit, then lower it back down. Do this for one set of 10 for each arm. When you become more comfortable with this exercise, you can straighten back your arm (as shown in the photo above) and then bend it back to your armpit before lowering it down again. This exercise is excellent for strengthening your triceps arm, shoulders, and mid-back muscles.

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