Modern technology has given us plenty of benefits and conveniences, but with one major drawback: Most of us sit at a desk for for eight (or more) hours a day, five days a week, most weeks of the year.
And unfortunately, the very thing can make us productive, profitable, and successful employees for our company can also harm our health—maybe even permanently.
Too much sitting can be blamed for health ailments such as weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions. One (slightly alarming) study even found that people who sit all day have a 40% increased risk of dying.
While we’re not saying your job is going to kill you, it’s a good idea to take some simple steps to improve your health at work. An easy place to begin: Simply start to move your body a little more at your desk.
These work your triceps and help stretch out your shoulders. Stand up at your desk with arms by your sides and palms facing behind.
Pulse the arms backward for 20 seconds, keeping arms as long and straight as possible.
This move gives new meaning to the term “circle back.” Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended straight out to sides at shoulder height. Move your arms in a small backward circle.
Do 20 times in this direction, switch directions, and repeat.
Try to bust these out between meetings, on a call, any time. All you have to do is stand up from your chair, lower your body back down, stopping right before you sit back down. (Keep your weight in your heels to work those glutes). Then stand back up again.
Repeat 10 times.
Standing Rear Pulses
If you’ve ever taken a barre this class, this move will feel familiar—but your desk is standing in for a barre. Holding the edge of your desk for support, bend one leg behind you, flexing the foot. Raise your heel up a few inches, then release slightly and press your foot directly back behind you. Continue to alternate between lifting your heel up, then pressing it back.
Do 20 to 30 reps, then switch sides.
Stand up behind your chair and hold on for support. Raise your heels off the floor until you are standing on your toes. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor.
Do 3 sets of 10.
If you have a swivel chair, you’re in luck. Use its twirl to your advantage with this oblique abs fix. Sitting upright and with the feet hovering over the floor, hold onto the edge of your desk. Next, use the core to swivel the chair from side to side.
Go back and forth 15 times.
Now, stretch it out! Raise one arm and bend it so that your hand reaches to touch the opposite shoulder blade. (It’s OK if you can’t actually reach it.) Use your other hand and pull the elbow toward your head.
Hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Relax and lean your head forward. Slowly roll head in a circle one side for 10 seconds. Repeat on other side.
Do this three times in each direction.
Clasp hands together above the head with palms facing up toward ceiling. Push your arms up, stretching upward.
Hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths.
Sit in your chair with both feet on the ground, then extend one leg outward. Reach toward your toes.
Hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths. Repeat on the other leg.