Even if your job requires you to sit for eight or more hours, you can combat the effects of prolonged sitting with a variety of one-minute office workouts—right at your desk—to keep yourself active and improve your body’s strength and flexibility.
For Lower Body Strength
Sit in your chair. Extend one leg out in front of you. Hold it straight for five seconds. Raise it as high as you can and hold for five more seconds. Switch legs and repeat, for a total of three times on each side.
For Your Core and Arms
Sit in your chair with your legs crossed in front of you (like a pretzel), and your feet on the seat. Place your hands on the armrests, engage your core and raise yourself a couple inches above the seat. Hold for 10 seconds. Rest a few seconds, and repeat five more times.
For Your Biceps
Sit tall with your abs pulled in. Hold a dumbbell or filled water bottle in one hand, with your arm stretched out straight and your palm facing the ceiling. Curl it up towards your shoulder and then back to the starting position 15 times. Alternate arms, and repeat.
To Stretch Stiff Muscles and Relieve Tension
Sit straight, facing forward. Turn your head to the left while turning your torso to the right. Hold for 5 seconds. Keep alternating sides for a total of 60 seconds.
Every Little Bit Counts
The impact of movement—even a leisurely walk—can be compelling. The muscle activity needed to move the body triggers important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars. This burns more calories, which can lead to weight loss and increased energy. In contrast, these processes stall when sitting, and health risks increase. Standing and actively moving kicks the body’s vital processes back into action.
The following are easy ways to incorporate movement into your workday.
- Stand while talking on the phone or while eating lunch.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Go for brief walks as often as possible.
- Ask your employer about the option of investing in a sit-to-stand desk.
- Walk or go to the gym during your break.
- Replace your desk chair with an exercise ball for all-day core strengthening and reduced stress on the lower back.
Remember to consult with a doctor before starting any type of exercise regime.