Sedentary behaviour is related to poor health and can increase your risk of developing everything from heart disease to diabetes. Prolonged sitting is bad for health. A recent article in TIME reports that one study found that sitting can increase your risk for cancer by more than 60 percent. The reality is that working people simply don’t have time to hit the gym or jogging. However, there are some stretching and strength-training moves that you can do from your office seat which will lessen your sedentary time at work. They may not produce the same results as hitting the gym or going for a run, but when it comes to workouts, every little bit helps.
Here are 10 exercises that can be done when you’re at work:
1. Climbing the Stairs: If you need to go to another floor, take the stairs. It’s a simple way to get some cardio exercise. Running or walk up and down the stairs briskly can help raise the heartbeat.
2. Knee Tucks: Knee tucks work the core muscles. Sit tall on the front half of your chair. Grasp the sides lightly with your hands and lean back slightly as you tighten your abs and bring your right knee up to chest height. Lower it as you raise your left knee on the next rep. Alternate sides. Once you get good at this, try lifting both knees at once, even just a few inches. Do up to 5 reps per leg.
3. Shoulder Blade Squeezes: This exercise is good for improving hunched posture. To do this exercise, imagine you’re trying to hold something like a pencil between your shoulder blades. Squeeze the shoulder blades together and hold for 10 seconds.
4. Chair Squats: This exercise is very effective for building lower body strength. Stand in front of your chair. Exhale and bend your knees and lower your bottom down toward the chair, letting it touch briefly down on the edge of the chair. Then stand back up. Repeat 10 times.
5. Leg Raise: This exercise helps tighten the abs. Sitting on your chair, raise and straighten one leg at a time. Raise it to a 90-degree angle and then lower, but don’t touch the floor before raising your leg back up. Try lifting both legs at the same time.
6. Exercise the Hands: Clasp your hands together and sit straight with your feet firmly on the floor. Lock your hands and pull in opposite directions. You will feel the strain on your arms.
7. Wall Sit: This exercise tones your quads and boosts your strength. Stand against a blank wall space, then squat down to a 90 degree angle. Slide your back down the wall while bending your knees. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
8. The “Magic Carpet Ride”: While sitting on your chair, cross your legs so your feet rest under your ankles. Put your hands on the chair’s armrests, engage your core, and lift the rest of your body a few inches off the chair. Hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds, rest, and repeat about 5 times.
9. Calf Raise: This is a simple but effective calf toner exercise. Stand behind your chair and hold on for support. Raise your heels off the floor, as high as possible, until you are standing on your toes. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor.
10. Take a Walking Break: Walking is the best exercise you can do. Schedule 10-15 minutes for walking. If the weather permits, go get some fresh air and relax for some time.