Physical Fitness

4 Exercises Entrepreneurs too Busy for Fitness Can Do at Work

Being an entrepreneur is hard work, but it shouldn't make you feel like a human dumpling. Twenty-eight percent of Americans are inactive, but you can make sure you're not among their ranks with some office-friendly moves.
4 Exercises Entrepreneurs too Busy for Fitness Can Do at Work
Image credit: Zero Creatives | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Orthopaedic surgeon at Orthopaedic Specialists of Dallas
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Pants too tight? Out of breath walking to and from the elevator? Being an entrepreneur is hard work, but it shouldn’t make you feel like a human dumpling. Yet founders everywhere are collecting pounds, putting themselves and their ability to work full-force at risk.

A CareerBuilder survey notes that 56 percent of workers would call themselves overweight. But the further individuals get from their ideal weight, the greater their risk for conditions such as diabetes, depression and cardiovascular disease. It’s a cycle that must be stopped.

Not all entrepreneurs are taking a lack of fitness sitting down. Hootsuite’s CEO, Ryan Holmes, has created an environment where workers can feel free to move. His philosophy is that workers who remain active will put forth a better effort in all areas of their lives, so he’s integrated health into the very fabric of Hootsuite’s ecosystem. And according to Mayo Clinic, busy men and women who incorporate activity into their lives generally have improved well-being.

In other words, there's a positive association between boardroom bliss and washboard abs.

Related: 5 Easy Approaches to Exercising at the Office

Turn any space into a gym

The Physical Activity Council says that up to 28 percent of Americans are inactive, but you can make sure you’re not among their ranks with some office-friendly moves:

1. Set off on a march.

Sitting all day doesn’t just make you a couch potato; it also hurts you, according to a study published in the journal Circulation. The only way to make a dent in poor health habits is to move.

You only need a small space to start marching in place. Lift your arms up toward the ceiling as you keep your knees nice and high. March steadily, and turn your palms upward. Want to increase the difficulty level? Hold books or filled water bottles in your hands, and move your arms up and down to your shoulders as if you were bench pressing the items.

This warm-up activity gets your body moving and your blood circulating. It might even make it easier to tackle that challenging afternoon phone call because your mind will be more alert.

Related: When This Boss Walks 10 Miles a Day, She Leads a Much Healthier Team

2. Kick your triceps into gear.

According to McCall, your triceps comprise about half of the total size of the three upper arm muscles, so why neglect them? Your triceps experience strains. All day, they’re forced into uncomfortable, tight and cramped positions. This can lead to tendonitis, a nagging, chronic condition. Your triceps deserve a workout that will make them stronger and more able to handle working all day.

While you’re marching in place, bend 45 degrees forward. Reach forward with your arms, using weights if desired. Keep your back straight, slightly bend your knees and pull your head up. Point your forearms toward the floor, creating a 90-degree angle at the elbow. Without moving your upper arms, extend your forearms until both arms are completely outstretched. Pause and then repeat.

Looking for another fast exercise? If your floor area is large enough and clean, consider doing a few push-ups. Be sure to keep your back straight and your posterior in line with the rest of your body.

3. Curl some hams.

Sitting all day can cause serious back pain. Stretching, elongating and strengthening your hamstrings can reduce lower-back stress. Plus, you’ll be able to tackle those flights of stairs like a pro. And if you want to contribute to the workplace volleyball team or softball league, you’ll be more of an asset to your colleagues.

Hamstring curls start with you standing up straight. Watch your posture; your body should create a line between the top of the head and the heels of the feet. Bend your elbows. Bring a foot up to your posterior. At the same time, extend your arms. Go back to your starting point, and do it again with the other foot. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you should hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat it two to four times. Don't rush things.

4. Bring up your knees.

As an article in Harvard Health describes, your core muscles are "the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body." No matter what kind of activity you engage in, "the necessary motions either originate in your core or move through it." So you can see why promoting a strong core is important.

Related: If You're Going to Sit at Work, Make Sure You're Doing It Right (Infographic)

You can promote tougher abdominal muscles by doing standing knee raises. Start by standing up straight. With hands at your sides and elbows bent, raise one knee to about a 90-degree angle. As you do, contract your lower and upper abdominals, as well as the muscles in your hips and lower back. You should feel your heart rate speed up, which is a reaction to increased blood flow. Over time, you’ll notice that you feel firmer in the stomach area and experience fewer twinges upon sitting and standing.

The next time you tell yourself you’re too busy to hit the gym, remember that you’re never too busy to get in a few minutes of working out. Every little bit gets you closer to improved health, and that means you can continue your entrepreneurial pursuits that much longer.

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