The negative effects of prolonged sitting on our health have been well-documented. Our sedentary lifestyles are responsible for increased risks of obesity and heart disease, and can cause back pain, leg cramps and poor posture, as well as loss of muscles and bone strength.
Even if you engage in the recommended 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day, research suggests that you are probably still not getting enough movement in your day to counteract the harmful effects of sitting too much.
The good news is that by adding a little extra activity into your day, you can protect your health and actually reverse or reduce health risks associated with being sedentary.
These four simple exercises can be done at your desk to keep you moving during your workday.
1. Wall Spine Roll DownGently encourages blood flow and helps to release tension in the whole body. Helps to build a great posture.
- Stand straight against any wall with feet about 10 inches away from the wall.
- As you inhale, pull your abdominals in and press your entire back to the wall.
- As you exhale, slowly roll down your spine, gradually moving it away from the wall one vertebrae at a time.
- Roll down as far as you can without allowing your hips to leave the wall.
- Relax the neck and shoulders, and let your head and arms hang.
- Now, slowly roll back up using your lower abs (not your back), placing each vertebrae of the spine back to the wall.
2. Desk PushupsGood for improving upper body strength and stretching your chest muscles.
- Stand 4 to 5 feet away from your desk.
- Plant your hands on the edge of the desk so that your body is at an angle.
- Relax your lower body and using only your arms, perform a pushup by lowering your chest down toward the desk. Keep elbows close to torso.
- Stop when your chest is about 3 to 6 inches away from the edge of the desk.
- Then push yourself back up to the starting position using only your arms.
- Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
3. Calf RaisesGood for both strengthening and stretching the calf muscles.
- Stand behind your chair and put your hands on it for balance.
- Raise your heels a few inches off the ground.
- Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds.
- Slowly lower your heels back down.
- Do 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps each.
4. Chair SquatsGood for toning and strengthening the quadriceps, gluteus maximus and calves.
- Stand up in front of your chair.
- Sit back into a squat like you are sitting back down in your chair, keeping your weight on your heels and your knees behind your toes.
- When you are almost touching your chair with your backside, push yourself back to the standing position using your leg muscles.
- Repeat this sequence for as long as you can, aiming for 1 minute.
If you have any health concerns, please consult with your doctor prior to doing these exercises.