With sitting now described as the new smoking, there is a lot of attention being paid to the harm that a sedentary lifestyle can cause. Many people sit all day at the office and then go home and relax, only to sit some more. Adding more movement into the day is as simple as taking the stairs or parking farther away from the store entrance than usual. Breaking up the work day with some motion is also pretty simple, it just takes a few exercises that can be done anywhere, and without much notice. These five easy exercises can help you break up a day of sitting and add to a healthier lifestyle.
Leg lifts underneath the desk are a great way to stretch the legs when sitting for a long time. Extend one or both legs straight, lower without touching the ground, and raise again. Repeat for three sets of 15 reps. Sit up straight with ab muscles engaged to realize full stretch and strengthening benefits. Overall, it is never good to sit too long, and a few laps around the office will help to also clear the head and sharpen concentration.
While waiting for the copier or elevator, do some calf raises. This exercise is a great way to keep moving and stretch the lower leg. Raises can also be done while listening in on marathon conference calls or anytime you have a few minutes to stand up and move a little. Calf raises can also increase circulation and keep the blood pumping up to the brain.
Place a ream of copy paper between the knees and engage the thigh muscles. Alternate squeezing and relaxing the inner thighs, while you carry on with the work at hand. This helps to strengthen the muscles that we sit on all day and can improve posture which will help to relieve a sore lower back.
By placing the hands in a prayer formation in front of the chest, will engage the arm, hand, and wrist muscles. This is the perfect exercise to do after a monster typing session that leaves your upper body feeling tense. Keep the shoulders back and really push the hands together.
A lot of computer use can also wreak havoc on the neck and shoulders. Take time to do a shoulder shrug exercise that will loosen everything up and keep the neck from becoming too stiff. Lift the shoulders up to the ears and hold for 5 seconds then release. Do 15 reps. For greater impact, stand while you shrug and hold a ream of paper in each hand.
Taking as little as 20 minutes throughout the day to move around, stretch, and engage some muscle groups can make a world of positive difference to your health and concentration. Sitting all day is not good for the body or the mind, and these short breaks can help you maintain focus and vibrancy on even the most overworked days. These 5 exercises make it easy to keep moving, however busy your day may be, why not give them a try and see what improvements you notice?