But what the typical adult does at work is sit in a desk chair for eight hours, plus a sitting-down commute both ways and an evening spent in front of the TV. This is a recipe for ruin. Sitting all day increases our risk for obesity and puts us at risk for back pain, poor posture, leg cramps, tense muscles and sheer boredom.
According to a survey by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, nearly 50% of adults in the U.S. admit that they don’t engage in the suggested 30 minutes, five days a week of moderate physical activity or the suggested 20 minutes, three times a week of vigorous activity. In short, about half of Americans don’t get the physical exercise they need.
But there are exercises you can do right at your desk to help you improve your body’s flexibility and strength with nothing but a few minutes and your desk chair. Just remember to check with a doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
Here are 5 exercises you can do right at your desk! So no more excuses – let it rip!
1. The Magic Carpet Ride
This works your core and arms. Sit in your chair with your legs crossed and your feet on the seat. Then place your hands on the armrests, suck in your gut and raise yourself a few inches above the seat, using your belly muscles and hands. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat five times.
2. Tricep Desk Dips
This is for upper-body strength, courtesy of Nolan Palmer Smith. Ladies, this will help the backs of your arms. Place your butt on the edge of the desk, then place your palms on the edge of the desk on either side of you. Keeping your feet together, bend at the elbows and slide forward off of the desk and dip down a few inches, and then push back up. Dip to where your elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Do this 20 times. For a variation, put your feet on the chair.
3. Carpal Tunnel Reliever
Carpal tunnel syndrome shouldn’t catch up to you if you repeat this simple move every day. Stand at your desk, and, arms straight, place your palms on the desk with your fingers pointed toward you. Lower your body slowly until you feel the stretch (you won’t have to go far). Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat as needed through the day.
4. The Wooden Leg
For lower-body strength: Sit in your chair, extend one leg out straight in front of you and hold for two seconds. Then raise it up as high as you can, and hold it again for two seconds. Repeat with each leg 15 times.
5. Sitting Spinal Stretch
This enhances both flexibility and muscle strength. Sit tall in your chair, and stretch your arms toward the ceiling. Put your left hand on the desk, grab the back of the chair with your right hand and twist to the right. Hold for 10 seconds. Release and raise your arms toward the ceiling again. Then repeat the twist going the other way. Hold for 10 seconds.