Many of us have office based jobs. This means 8 hours a day or more being sat at a desk. To add to this a large percentage of office workers will sit down as soon as they get home.
A recent study by Cambridge University suggested that you could die upto 60% earlier as a result of prolonged periods of inactivity ie. sitting down. Sitting down can lead to poor posture; rounded shoulders, slumped neck, weak lower back to name but a few. More seriously our increasingly sedentary lifestyles have been linked with an increase risk of a stroke, heart attack, cancer and obesity (and the whole host of health issues associated with this)
But here's the thing, you have options, you always have options even when you're stuck in the office. Try these simple exercises throughout your working day to get the blood flowing and prevent many of the ailments associated with sitting down.
What you'll need:
- Telephone Headset
- Sturdy desk
- Clear Wall
- Swiss Ball
1. Stand Up (Lower back, Legs, Core)
We evolved as 'upright animals'; to spend most of our day on our feet so lets use our body as it's supposed to be used. Request a headset so that you can talk on the phone standing up. This will also help with your phone manner; projection of your voice etc which may inturn make your calls more successful.
2. Desk Press Ups (Lower Pecs, Front Delts & Triceps)
The same as standard press ups only your hands rest on the desk. The higher your hand position the easier this is.
This targets the lower chest, the triceps and the front of the shoulders.
3. Skiers Hold (Quads)
This is a classic knee-strengthener that skiers have been using for years. It is typically performed with your back flat against the wall and feet about 2-3 feet from the wall. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor (knees at 90 degree angle) keeping your back flat against the wall.
Hold this position for approximately 30 seconds for 3 sets. Increase the time each week.
Not only does this move strengthen the ligaments around the knee but it also improves the endurance of your quads.
4. Vacuums (Transverse Abdominus)
These can be done whilst standing up or whilst sitting down. The closest exercise to this is the more commonly used ‘plank’ but I’m not sure that lying down on the floor is practical in an office environment.
With your chest out exhale then pull your belly button in towards your back. Imagine someone is pulling it back from inside towards your spine. Hold it here for 10 seconds then relax and breath in and let the stomach expand out again.
Repeat as often as you can throughout the day.
This move isolates the transverse abdominis muscle.
5. Squats (Quads, Glutes)
With hands by the side of your head or on your hips and body upright slowly lower your bottom towards the ground. Keep your lower back straight and eyes facing forwards. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor, hold here for the count of two then push back up to the start position. Repeat.
Works the quads and glutes.
6. Use a Swiss Ball as a chair (Core muscles)
This is a great option if your boss allows it… Simply replace your chair with a swiss ball. This means you can’t sit back so you are permanently exercising your core to keep you stable. At first you might only be able to manage 30 mins but try and build it up each day. Keep your chair handy for when you tire.
Hits all of your core stabilising muscles.
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