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10 Simple Workouts You Can Do In Office

10 Simple Workouts You Can Do In Office

If you are like most people, you spend your life sitting.  Sitting at home, sitting in the car, sitting at work and sitting in the evening again.  This is the grim reality of 21st century adulthood, which leads to our society being the sickest, least mobile and body-aware we’ve ever been.  So what can we do?

For most people, our jobs force us to be sedentary and with technology being at the forefront of everything we do, we have become slave to our computers, laptops, iPads and mobile phones.  Are you the type who send emails to colleagues sitting 10 feet away from you?  We’ve become super lazy, and as a result, we have become super sick, super tired and less superman. Well, it’s time to change all that.  Getting yourself moving and understanding that your joints need love and that your muscles require to be worked is one of the greatest realizations that you can make. In this article, you’ll learn how easy it is to workout at the office with some simple and easy mini workouts designed to take up little of your effort and time.

But let’s first start with the excuse that we mutter to ourselves all too often.

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“I don’t have enough time to workout.”

We only believe that because we have been told a workout should last between 45 minutes–1 hour.  Yes if you are looking for specific adaptations, then this is a good amount of time to workout, but what if you really haven’t that amount of time? Mobilizing your joints is a workout, and that doesn’t require 45 minutes of your time. Here are 10 simple workouts you can do while in the office.

1. Ankle mobilization.

This can be done either standing or seated.  Simply remove your shoe, take one foot out in front of you and start by bringing the foot up so that your toes are facing you, and then move your foot away until it faces the floor.  Complete 10 repetitions. Now, begin to move the foot in a circular motion through its full range of motion. Do this 10 times to the left and then 10 to the right.  The intention here is to rotate the ankle joint through its full range of motion.

2. Chair squat.

Performing a squat can be very challenging, let alone getting your butt all the way down to the ground in perfect form, but by using your desk chair as a support, you will be able to work on improving your technique and at the same time, get the leg muscles (as well as the core) stimulated. Get yourself seated on the chair, place your feet hip width apart and hold your arms up in front of you at shoulder height. From that position imagine driving your feet into the ground and come to standing.  It’s important to note that when you are about to stand that your knees do not pass in front of your toes and that your first thought is going up rather than moving forward.  Repeat this exercise 10 times, 3 times daily.

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3. 1 leg touchdown.

Find a little space in your office because you’ll be moving around a little here.  Start by standing up straight and taking your right arm up above your head.  Take your right foot off the floor so you are standing only on your left.  Bend forward so that your chest is getting closer to the floor and maintain a straight back.  The aim then is to get your right hand to touch your left ankle.  When done, return to an upright position still on one leg. Repeat 4 times, and then change sides.  If you find the ankle a bit optimistic, then feel free to touch the knee cap first.

4. Eye revolutions.

Your eyes are a muscle and just like every other muscle in the body, they need a workout.  Our eyes tend to work in a very limited range, usually from keyboard to screen so it’s time you take them out of that comfortable zone and challenged your periphery.  Simply look up high in to your eyelids and hold there for 2 seconds, then as far left as possible, as low down and as far right as you can.  Once up, left, down and right have been done, start big clockwise circular motions with your eyes then anti-clockwise. Start with 10 big circles each side.

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5. Shoulder mobility.

Stand up tall and place your right hand on your left hip. Keep your arm straight and bring your hand up toward the sky, actively reaching away from you, then bring it behind the body much like the backstroke in swimming.  By keeping your eyes fixed on your hand throughout the movement, it will improve your proprioception (the brains awareness of its body parts in the space around it).   Repeat 8–10 times on each arm.

6. De-stress breathing.

This workout will probably serve you better than all the others put together.  If we can de-stress at the office, then productivity increases, as does mental capacity.  If you’ve ever done yoga or meditated before, then this is nothing new to you but if not, give this a try.  You’ll need at least 5 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time to practice this breathing technique.  Inhale slowly through the nose and instead of inflating the lungs, breathe through the diaphragm. The way to understand this is to think of pushing out your Buddha belly when inhaling and when exhaling pull the belly button in toward the spine. This is simple, easy and super effective for calming nerves and helping you wash away those worries and stress.  Aim for a minimum of 4 seconds during both the inhalation and exhalation phase.

7. The power swing.

This workout is a little more dynamic than the others. Take both hands above your head and with your knees slightly bent, swing forward so that your chest is parallel to the floor.  Let the arms swing back behind your knees and then drive them forward and come to an upright position finishing in that start postion.  The idea here is to gain enough flexibility so that your hands sweep the floor in the lowered position.

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8. Lateral leg pendulums.

This is a great mobilizer for the hip joint.  Sitting all day causes inflexible hips, which can lead on to pain around the joint, so perform this exercise to help gain better all round hip movement.  Stand upright, take one leg off the ground and simply swing it to its end range left and right of the body.  It may be hard to balance at first so hold on to your chair for help.  Aim on keeping the body facing straight ahead and only allow the leg to swing.  You can perform a minimum of 20 repetitions each side.

9. Shoulder rotational stability.

This is a great way to strengthen the smaller muscles that surround the shoulder joint while sitting at your desk. In a seated position bring your arms high up to shoulder height so that from behind, your back looks like the letter T.  Make a fist and raise both thumbs into a thumbs up position.  Now start rotating the thumbs as far forward as you can to as far back as they go.  Keep rotating till you start to feel that nice muscles burning feeling in the shoulders.

10. The deep squat.

Every little child performs the deep squat with perfection and little thought.  They sit down and play for hours on end with their bums almost seated on the ground.  We’ve lost the ability to do this over the years due to our lack of mobility, but it’s a movement that we shouldn’t be shy to re-learn. Here you’ll need to counter your weight by holding on to the legs of your desk.  So grab hold, and with your feet shoulder width apart very slowly lower yourself as though you aim to sit on the floor.  Muscles tightness and joint compression will at first limit the depth of the squat, but as soon as you hit your end point hold there for 10 seconds. You can develop your range and one day get closer to the floor by being consistent in your attempts to deep squat.  It’s important to note that you need to keep your heels pressed to the ground and attempt to keep the back as straight as possible.

Having a workout needn’t be so time consuming.  As you can see there are plenty of ways to keep you from feeling like you have to drag yourself to the gym after work.  Work on mobility, movement and becoming more body aware for improved long term health.

Featured photo credit: photo credit:

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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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