Although we are experiencing an unfortunate time in history, many people around the world are making the best of things by using it as an opportunity to get outside and get active. However, now that more and more businesses are beginning to reopen their doors, employees may be dreading going back to work and being chained to their desk. It is no secret that sitting all day is not ideal for your body or your health. In fact, the World Health Organization attributes 3.2 million deaths each year to a sedentary lifestyle, and sitting for long periods of time may be linked to an increased risk of heart disease and type II diabetes. Additionally, sitting with bad posture can create problems for your muscles and bones that can be painful and debilitating. Adding an average of 7.5 hours of sleep and 9.5 hours between commuting and working, the average individual is sedentary for approximately 17 hours a day. If you go home from work and relax on the couch, even longer. Some studies have suggested that individuals who sit for 8 hours a day, with minimal exercise, have a higher chance of mortality than those who sit for less than 4 hours a day with 1 hour of exercise. Fortunately, some specialists have found that daily exercise can offset the damage done by prolonged sitting.
Here are some ways to get moving while back on the clock. Of course check with your doctor before taking on any of these stretching exercises:
To loosen a stiff neck-
To loosen your lats-
To stretch your chest-
To stretch your shoulders-
To stretch your hamstrings-
There’s no need to get on the floor if you’re worried about office germs. Utilize your desk or the wall for a modified push-up.
You can use your desk or your chair, just make sure it doesn’t roll away mid dip. Place your hands behind you shoulder width apart on your chosen apparatus. Extend your legs out in front of you in a reverse plank-like position. Bend your arms to dip down, and then straighten them to return to your original position. Don’t completely straighten your arms, as keeping a slight bend in the elbows protects your joints.
Jog in place-
In 45 second intervals, stand up and start moving your legs. Repeat 5 times. If you want a more intense challenge, try bringing your knees to waist level.
Ghost jump rope-
Pretend you have a rope in hand and jump rope as you normally would. You can alternate between hopping on both feet and one at a time. Add arm movements for extra burn.
This is a great exercise to do while waiting for those long documents to print or while your coffee brews. Hold on to something for balance and support, raise your heels off of the floor and then lower back down. Complete 3-4 sets of 10.
Squeeze your glute muscles as hard as you can, hold for 10-30 seconds and relax. Repeat several times.
Find a stable wall (cubicle walls aren’t going to cut it) and stand with your back flat against the wall. Lower yourself into a seated position and hold, hold, hold. Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-30 seconds.
Keep it stationary or make a trip down the hall. Place one leg in front of the other and bend the knee of your back leg down towards the ground. Straighten your bent knee and repeat about 10 times on each leg.
Find something that weighs a few pounds, like a ream of paper. Hold the object parallel to the ground at shoulder height with arms outstretched, and then raise it up towards the ceiling. Repeat 10-12 reps 3 times.
Park further away-
If you have a reserved parking spot consider loaning it out for a month. Parking at the furthest end of the car park is an unavoidable way to get some extra steps in throughout the day.
Take the stairs-
Skip the email-
Take advantage of any opportunity you have to get up and walk to someone’s office. Not only will you get some extra movement in, you might also find your work relationships blossoming with more face time.
Turn your meeting into a marathon-
Instead of holding your meeting in a stuffy office around an awkward table, take it outside and go for a stroll around your building. Exercise can improve brain function and the extra stimulation can help spark new and creative ideas.
Turn your coffee break into a walking break-
Take the long way to the kitchen and maybe even do a few laps around the office while you wait for your coffee. Challenge yourself to see how many rounds you can do before your cup is full.
Adding spurts of movement and exercise into your day is a great way to offset the negative effects of sitting. Mix up your routine and get creative by finding what items around your office can double as weights, and how you can reinvent daily tasks to burn some calories. Remember to check with your doctor before taking on these, or any other exercise or stretching routines.