Eight out of ten American jobs are sedentary or require only light activity.1 If one of these jobs is yours, you’re probably all too aware of how much time you spend sitting at your desk.
OurHealth health coach Sharon McGoff stresses the importance of moving during the work day. “With our sedentary jobs and lives, we have to get creative to make it happen throughout the day,” Sharon says.
Engaging in moderate aerobic exercise for 30 minutes (for example, marching in place at your desk for 5 minutes 6 times a day) can reduce your risk of developing many physical and mental health conditions, and possibly reverse disease. Resistance exercises (for example, desk push-ups) help reduce blood pressure, increase metabolism, improve balance and increase core strength.
Here are eight simple exercises to mix-and-match and do anytime, right at your desk. You may be surprised by the positive effect these can have on your productivity and mood.
Warm Up / Aerobic Exercises
1. March in Place
March with high knees and butt kicks (30 seconds each). For a challenge, raise your arms overhead or swing back and forth.
2. Arm Circles
Circle forward and reverse, holding arms laterally out to the side, diagonally in front of you, then straight in front of you. Circle in each direction for 30 seconds. For a challenge, hold small hand weights.
Leg Strength and Toning
3. Seated Leg Raise
While sitting tall, raise your left leg straight up and squeeze your thigh muscles. Hold this lifted position for two seconds before lowering. Do 30 seconds for each leg.
4. Toe Raises
Stand and hold onto a chair or desk and rise up on your toes, then back on your heels (allowing your toes to point upward). This toe raise can be accentuated by standing on a step, rising up on your toes and allowing your heels to come below the step. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Abs and Core
5. Seated Rotation
Sit with good posture and elbows slightly bent. Keeping the abs contracted, rotate to the right while keeping the hips and legs facing forward. Contract abs to bring body back to center and then to the left. Go slowly and concentrate on rotating only at the torso.
6. Desk Plank
Place your hands on a desk, arms straight and feet walked away from the desk so your body is at an angle. Keep your back straight and core tight. Hold for 30 seconds.
Arm Strength and Toning
7. Desk Push-ups
Place your hands wide (wider than shoulder width) on your desk. Bring your chest to the desk, then press away. Repeat for 30 seconds. Be sure to stretch your arms behind your back.
8. Chair Tricep Dips
First, push your chair up against a wall or sturdy desk.
Sit on the edge of the chair and place your hands next to your hips with palms down and fingers grabbing the chair. Push away from the chair, drop down, then use your arms to push yourself back up.
Repeat for 30 seconds. For an extra challenge, keep your legs straight out.
1 http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/25/less-active-at-work-americans-have-packed-on-pounds/?_r=0; accessed 11/21/2016