The typical day of someone who works in an office is spent sitting. We sit eight hours at a desk. We sit commuting to work. In the evenings, we slouch on our couches to watch TV.
This is simply a path to ruin. A life spent sitting with no exercise increases the risk of obesity, back pain, poor posture and leg cramps.
Fortunately, there are exercises you can easily do at work. Here are six moves that'll help you be more productive and improve the quality of your life.
1. All-Over Stretch
This is a great way to prepare for your day at the office. Start stretching from your neck: tilt your head down toward your shoulders interchangeably. Then loosen up your shoulders by rolling them both forward and backward in circular motion. Repeat this exercise ten times.
Now it's time for your wrists — perfect for working at the computer. Stretch one arm out in front of you with palm facing down. With the other hand, pull the raised fingers down toward the floor so your wrist is bent. Hold for three seconds and repeat on the other side.
Finally, you can stretch your legs, particularly calves and ankles. Standing with straight legs, flex one ankle at a time by pointing toes up and then down. Then draw circles with your toes, both clockwise and counter-clockwise.
2. Magic Carpet Ride
Sit in your chair with legs crossed and feet on the seat. Put your hands on armrests and slowly raise yourself above your seat. Hold this position for 10-20 seconds (you should feel it in your belly and arms). Rest for 30 seconds and repeat five times.
3. Leg Power
Sit in your chair and extend one leg forward. Hold it up for five seconds. Then raise it again, but this time as high as you can. Hold it for five seconds. Repeat 15 times for each leg. This exercise is perfect for developing lower-body strength.
4. Chair Squats
Put your seat at its lowest level and stand in front of it with your feet hip width. Put your hands on your hips and lower your butt until it's just above the seat. Then try to sit down as slowly as possible. If you want to make it even harder, reach your hands overhead. Feeling like a pro? Try this exercise standing on one leg. Repeat 20 times.
5. Office Push-ups
Stand about three feet away from your desk, place your feet together and put your hands on the edge of the desk. The space between them should correspond to your shoulders. Lower your chest to the edge of the desk and push back up. Repeat this upper-body strength exercise 20 times.
6. Chair Swap
Not an exercise, but replacing your chair with an exercise ball will force you to constantly use your abs to hold yourself in the correct position, improving your balance and taking stress off your lower back. Sit on the ball, pull your shoulders up and place your feet wide. It's not easy, so you might want to practice at home.
Apart from these exercises, it's important to sit at your desk the right way. Your chair should be at the proper height to reduces strain on your neck and back, without the need to crane forward and slump your shoulders. Be aware of your posture, correct it and exercise when you can. You'll see positive results within a week!