Micro exercises are short and quick workout sessions that are just a few reps or that last only a few minutes. Mix in micro exercises throughout your work day to stay healthy.
After the fourth or fifth straight conference call or maybe as you’re nearing the third straight hour of sitting at your desk, you really start to feel the soreness in your ass and tightness in your lower back, neck and shoulders.

And to add to the misery, you start to become more conscious of your muffin top, a growing problem that’s only getting worse as you’re snacking on not-so-healthy stuff throughout the day.

This kind of working style isn’t doing any good for your health.

At least when you’re working in the office, you’re at least getting some steps in and moving around more as you’re walking from meeting to meeting, to and from the breakroom and of course, getting outside for lunch.

But at home, there’s less reason to get up and walk around. The only time you get up from your chair is to go to the bathroom or for lunch. Beyond that, your ass is glued to that chair.

You know that you should exercise daily but you’re not much of a workout person. And, going to the gym may not be your thing. But, you know that you can’t keep going on like this.

Well, there is a solution to this problem and it’s not as painful as you think. It’s a little concept called micro exercising.

What Are Micro Exercises & How It Benefits You

Basically, micro exercises are ultra-short exercise sessions that last five minutes or less. It’s like doing air squats for 30-seconds, taking a fast walk around the block, going up and down the stairs a few times, etc.

It’s short bursts of exercise where you’re moving your body, which is the main point. This isn’t about getting into marathon shape. It’s about not turning into a sloth by breaking up the long sit-n-stare sessions at your desk with some full-body motion.

With the advent of technology and computing, more and more people are spending most of their day sitting on their ass. Human bodies are not meant to be stationary.

Our human cave-dwelling ancestors got a shitload of exercise every damn day. And, it wasn’t by choice. They actually had to go hunt and chase down their food. Or, in other cases, run away from being another animal’s dinner. Every day was a serious workout.

In today’s world, nobody has to chase down their food. And when food is easily available and your lifestyle is lounging like Jabba The Hutt, all sorts of bad shit starts to happen to your body. It’s things like being overweight, high blood pressure and cholesterol, muscle atrophy, increased cardiac risk, etc.

When you’re working from home, there’s less reason to get up from your desk. All the meetings and calls are done via the web or phone. All your work is done via the computer and the internet. The only parts of your body that get worked are your fingers and eyeballs - that’s it.

You can change that by doing easy micro exercises while working. It’s THE perfect way to get your body moving, stay fit and flexible.

When you move your body frequently throughout the day as you work, you’re burning more calories, flexing your muscles, lubricating your joints, getting your heart pumping, etc.

There are tons of studies that prove that daily exercise is good for you. And, we’re not talking about long, hard, sweaty workouts either.

In fact, this study from the University of Miami found that simple “physical activity has beneficial effects across several physical and mental health outcomes. Generally, participants engaging in regular physical activity display more desirable health outcomes across a variety of physical conditions.”

Put more simply, any kind of physical activity is good for your mind and body.

So, the question is how do you integrate physical activity into your busy day?

How To Incorporate Micro Exercises Into Your WFH Day

Every day is a mixed bag of activity and workload. Some folks have more consistent work days while others have totally unpredictable ones.

Some days are nothing but putting out fires all day, joining consecutive back-to-back calls and running around like crazy. While other days are more about heads-down work and grinding through the usual bullshit. Those are the days where you’re trying your best to avoid stupid meetings and boring conference calls.

No matter what it is, everyone is just trying to get their shit done and survive the day. And when you’re neck-deep in problems or in the zone with work, you don’t come up for air that often.

This is when you end up sitting for way too long.

Here are two ways that you can break up the sit-a-thons and do a mini exercise session.

Time-based Intervals

Way back in the 1980’s, digital watches with hourly beeps were a thing. Today, we’ve got our smartphones with built-in timers.

So, you can set a timer function to set off the alarm at set intervals of 30 minutes to an hour. You don’t want to be sitting for more than an hour so, use that as the maximum interval duration.

When the alarm goes off, it’s hands-off of the keyboard and mouse, get up from your chair and get your body moving for a few minutes.

Task-based Intervals

When you’ve completed a particular task like finishing a PowerPoint deck, weekly report, webinar, excel analysis, conference call etc., take a break before hopping to the next task.

Use this in-between transition time as your micro exercise moment. It’s a fantastic way to clear your head and shake off a bit of work stress, all in five minutes or less.

Plus, it’ll also help you to monotask and focus on your next push.

Start Easy, Like Really Stupid Easy

The key here is consistency. And, the best way to achieve this is by making it easy, like really stupid easy.

When you set the bar really low and you’re able to easily complete the mini exercise, you’re creating a positivity loop that not only rewards your body, but also rewards your mind with little dopamine hits of happiness that you did it.

So, don’t go all out with this. It doesn’t work that way.

It only works when you do it in small easy chunks. And this is important because you’ll be doing a bunch of these micro exercises throughout the day.

Start with easy to attain goals and set the bar low so that you “win” every time. This will ensure that you can make it through the day without breaking much of a sweat.

For example, instead of doing ten push-ups, do one knee push up. Or, take a normal walk around your house instead of a fast walk around the block.

Get it?

Keep it easy to get quick wins fast.

This will increase the chances that you’ll stick with it. As you get used to the level, you can always add more to it later on. But, at the beginning, keep it easy.

7 Easy Micro Exercises To Stay Fit While Working

Micro exercises aren’t going to turn you into an Olympian - no way. But, they can stimulate your muscles and joints and help to keep you fit, at least more so than just doing nothing.

Here are seven simple full-body exercises that you can do during those micro-moments throughout the day. They can be as short as 10-15 seconds or as long as 5-minutes. It all depends on how many and how long you do them.

You don’t want to do any of these to the point of exhaustion. You only want to do a few reps to get your heart pumping a bit and your body moving. They’re all low-sweat easy workouts that won’t require you to hop in the shower.

Remember that you’ll be doing this at your work break intervals all day long, whether that’s time or task based intervals. So, keep the reps and effort low as you’ll be doing a bunch of micro sessions spread throughout the day.

Try them all and find the ones that work best for you.

1) Simple Air Squats

Air squats work your ass cheeks and legs.

Find a clear spot and stand with your arms extended straight out. Then, slowly squat down and lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold that position for a few seconds and then slowly stand back up.

Repeat the squat for however many times you can. Remember, keep it easily attainable!

If you can only do one, do that. If you can do ten, that’s good too. 

2) Stationary Or Jumping Lunges

While standing, take a long step forward with one leg and lower your other knee toward the floor, almost touching the floor. This will lower your entire body using your legs for stability and strength.

Then, using your legs, push your body back up to the original standing position and repeat the lunge with your other leg as the leading leg.

Do just one or two pairs of stationary lunges as your starting point. You can build up from there and eventually do jumping lunges as your most challenging version.

3) Knee-Assisted Or Regular Push-Ups

Oh, the good ol’ and much-hated push-up. It’s a tough exercise, particularly for women as they lack upper body strength. So, make this easier by using your knees to support more of your body weight.

Get into a normal push-up position and then, lower your knees to the floor. Slowly lower your chest to the floor and then push yourself back up to the original position.

You’ve got nobody to impress here. So, only do as many or few that you can knock out. If that means just one knee push-up, that’s perfectly fine. 

4) Full or Half Sit-Ups

This is your muffin top buster exercise - the traditional sit-up. You can start with the full sit-up that starts laying down with your knees bent up toward the ceiling. In this format, you’re curling your body up toward your knees and then slowly lowering yourself back down.

For an easier method, start out in the same position, but instead of doing a full sit-up, just curl your upper body halfway up and then slowly lower yourself back down.

Try starting with the half sit-ups only, maybe just five or ten max.

5) Modified or Regular Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks work your entire body and get your heart pumping fast. So, you wanna start out easy with these. Start out with 10-20 jumping jacks and see how you feel.

If that’s too much, go with modified jumping jacks where you’re working one leg at a time and not jumping.

Start out by standing straight with your arms by your side. Then, step your leg out to the side while swinging both of your arms out to the side and above your head. Return back to the original position and then repeat on the other side.

6) Fast Walk Around House Or Block

There’s nothing like getting outside for some fresh air after battling through emails and calls. Plus, you get the added benefit of relieving the digital eye strain from staring at the screen for hours.

Go for a briskly paced walk around the block. Depending on how big or small your block is, it could take you a minute or maybe as long as five minutes.

You want to walk at a pace that’s quick but not fast, kinda like the pace you’d use if you were running late to a meeting. It’s fast enough to have you breathing harder than normal but not fast enough to prevent you from having a conversation.

For a more easily attainable version, do a normal walking pace around the outside of your house instead of around the block.

Or, you can always do a walking conference call to get some steps in for the day as you’re listening to the meeting.

7) Stair-Climb For 1-Minute

If you’ve got stairs in your house or apartment complex, you’ve got a free piece of exercise equipment right there.

Go for a mini stair-climbing session after you’ve completed a work task. This can be just one flight of stairs up and back down or for a set duration of one to three minutes.

Whatever is easiest for you, start with that then slowly work you way up to more stairs as you get stronger.

Bonus: 5-Minute All-In-One Session

Sometimes, when you’re firing on all cylinders with work, you can’t stop working. You’re in the zone with work and your focus and productivity is through the roof. In these kick-ass moments, you feel unstoppable.

In these scenarios, you definitely don’t want to interrupt your workflow and rhythm just to do a micro exercise. Instead, stay in the workflow mindset.

There will be a moment when you’ll come up for air. And, when you do, you can do an all-in-one 5-minute micro session that gets your entire body moving.

This 5-minute guided video below is a fantastic one to follow along with. It provides a preview of each exercise plus a countdown and start timer for each micro session.

VIDEO: 5 min Cardio for Beginners
LENGTH: 5:19
For some folks, even a 5-minute cardio session can be tough. So, start out easy and lighten up the pace if you need to.

Another great alternative is to do some desk yoga to add a bit of variety.

The objective is to step away from your work for a few minutes and just get your body moving. 

Get Moving & Get Healthy

The human body was never meant to be in a sitting position for hours on end. Evolution designed humans to move around. However, the work from home lifestyle often keeps you saddled to your chair for hours.

The good news is that because you’re WFH, you can mix in easy micro exercises throughout the day to shake off the sedentary stiffness and soreness while also improving your overall health and wellbeing.

Plus, there are no coworkers around to see you doing these exercises. The only people that might give you weird looks are your kids and/or pets. Hell, they may even join you in the fun.

Integrating micro exercises into your day is one of the best ways to manage work stress and balance things out a bit.

So, how about doing a few air squats right now?

Or even better, go for a 5-minute fast-paced walk outside for some fresh air, new scenery and micro workout.

You’ll come back feeling invigorated, ready to get in the zone and take on the next work task like a hero.

Feel Better,

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