Do you have a desk-based job where you typically spend eight hours or more each day sitting down? While exercise outside of work hours can help combat some ill effects of being sedentary, reports have found that it may not be enough on its own.
What can you do? For starters, get a standing desk, if possible, and aim to move around at least once every hour. Beyond this, there are effective exercises you can do throughout the day at your desk. Here are a few to try:
Feel the squeeze. Incorporate a thigh squeeze into your day to get the blood in your legs pumping and strengthen the muscles. Use a small ball and place it between your knees. Squeeze your thighs together as hard as you can, and hold for a few seconds. Then, release this tension slowly with the ball still between the knees. Repeat this 20 times.
Do the twist. Get your abs working by doing a plank and knee twist. This works your abdominal muscles and obliques, strengthening your core and your back. Put your hands on your desk or chair, and get into a plank position. Keep your spine in a line (no sway back), and pull your left knee to your right elbow. Repeat on the other side, and switch sides repeatedly for two minutes.
Simply squat. This works your legs and glutes, and also gets your heart pumping. Your back should be toward your chair, keeping your posture erect. Feet are shoulder-width apart. Lower down into a squat and touch your butt to the chair behind you. Do this 20 times.
Do some dips. Get some tricep dips going to build strength in your upper arms and banish unsightly jiggle. Place your palms at the edge of your chair (with fingers pointing toward your body). With your butt off the chair and knees bent, bend your elbows until your arms make a 90-degree angle. Push back up to the starting position, and repeat 20 times.
Roll it out. Grab a foam roller and give your thoracic spine some relief with this easy recovery exercise. Lay on the ground with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Place the foam roller underneath your shoulder blades. Activate your abs and roll backward (with your neck remaining in line with your spine), arms extending up toward the ceiling. Roll back to the starting point, and be sure to keep the roller away from your lower back. Do this several times until your back feels relief.
Put these exercises in your daily rotation while at work, and you’ll be well on your way to a stronger body, fresher mind and greater sense of wellbeing.