As humans, we’re made to move, but most of us spend a good portion of our days sitting still. We go from driving to our desks to the dinner table to the couch without a second thought or a change in routine.
What effect does all that sitting have on our health? It increases obesity risk and puts us at risk for back pain, muscle cramps, poor posture and more. The good news is that there’s something each of us can do about it.
Incorporating small bursts of exercise into your office routine can keep you more active and combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week, but about half of Americans don’t meet that standard.
If you’re struggling to find time to exercise, try these workouts you can do at your desk with nothing but a little time and your desk chair:
Start with posture. Make sure your desk and chair are positioned properly to reduce neck, eye and back strain and headaches. Your feet should be flat on the floor, your knees bent at 90-degree angles and your lower spine flat against the back of the chair. The top third of your computer screen should be above eye level. Be careful not to crane your neck or hunch forward.
Stretch out. Keep your body limber to avoid cramps and carpal tunnel syndrome. Stretch your neck by touching your ear to your shoulder. Open up your chest by stretching your arms behind you like you’re trying to grab a pencil between your shoulder blades. Use a doorway to stretch by holding the frame on each side and walking forward. Stretch your back by holding your hips and gently bending backward. Finally, to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, complete this stretch daily: Stand at your desk and place your palms on the desk, fingers pointed toward you. Lower your body as far as you can and hold for 15 seconds.
60-second aerobics. Do the following exercises for 60 seconds to spike your heart rate: jumping jacks, highs knees, simulated jump roping, shadow boxing or stationary lunges.
Strength training moves. Try some desk pushups, squats or butt kickers on your lunch break or while you wait for the printer.
The “Magic Carpet Ride.” Sit in your chair with your legs crossed and your feet on the seat. Place your hands on the armrests, tighten your core and use your abdominal muscles and hands to raise your body a few inches above the seat. Hold for 10-20 seconds and repeat five times.
The “Wooden Leg.” Sit in your chair, holding one leg straight out in front of you. Hold that position for two seconds, then raise your leg as high as you can and hold for two seconds. Repeat 15 times on each leg.
Go the long way. Sometimes the easiest way to fit in a workout is to perform regular tasks the hard way. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to your coworker’s desk instead of sending an email. Walk to lunch instead of driving. Park at the back of the parking lot, or walk/bike to work.
Above all, get creative and stay active! If you have the choice, try to always stand rather than sit, and walk rather than stand. Talk to a primary healthcare provider to learn more about how you can combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Posted: 4/13/2016 by
Filed under: healthy adults, healthy lifestyle, wellness awareness