When you work in an office all day, you might be filling up your pocketbook and getting extras like health benefits -- but you're probably not doing a lot to benefit your physical health. All that sitting can lead to weight gain if you're not doing something to combat it. To build muscle and work on fighting the office-work weight gain, try adding some dumbbell exercises into your work day. To really increase your fitness level, also try to include some cardiovascular exercise into your routine, such as walking or cycling to work or taking the stairs to get to the office.
Warm up your muscles and get your blood flowing by walking around the office for about five minutes before you start your dumbbell routine. If time is tight, work this into your trip to the water cooler or bathroom; or take a few minutes' break from the office and walk around the block. Any movement is better than none, even if you can't devote a full five minutes to the task.
Sit on the edge of your chair and grasp one dumbbell with both hands, allowing the dumbbell to rest behind your neck. In the starting position, your upper arms will be pointed upward and your lower arms will be pointed downward as they grasp the dumbbell. Extend your arms upward until they're straight and the dumbbell is hovering near the crown of your head. Lower the dumbbell back down to complete one repetition of the tricep extension. Repeat the movement 10 to 12 times, take a 30-second break, and then do a second set. If you so desire, you can also do this exercise standing up.
Continue sitting on the edge of your chair and grasp a dumbbell in each hand, allowing your arms to fall down by your sides and point toward the floor. Face your palms forward and pull the dumbbells up toward the tips of your shoulders, stopping when the dumbbells almost meet the front of your shoulders or upper chest. Lower the dumbbells back down to complete one repetition of the bicep curl exercise. Repeat the exercise 10 to 12 times, take a 30-second break and then complete a second set.
Keep sitting on the edge of your chair and grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Position your hands facing outward, with your hands at the height of the top of your head and your arms bent and out from the body in a "goalpost" position. Press your arms upward until they're straight, and then lower them back down to complete one repetition of the dumbbell press exercise. Repeat the exercise 10 to 12 times and then take a break before completing a second set.
- To work on your core muscles all day long, bring a stability ball to the office and replace your office chair. If you have the option to leave your desk while you complete your work, you can also hold a set of dumbbells as you do leg lunges, squats and toe raises.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.