No matter who you are or where you work, chances are you spend a lot of time at your desk. Chances are even better that most of that time is spent sitting down.
Studies have shown that sitting at a desk all day can weaken the muscles in your lower body, cause pain and potential medical issues in your back, neck, and shoulders, and even cause varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis. To help maintain a healthy body while working a desk job, consider a standing desk, taking 3–5-minute breaks every hour to walk around, or even getting an ergonomic chair.
Looking for something a little more intense? There are some simple exercises you can do right at your desk to get your blood pumping and your muscles working. These exercises can help you improve muscle tone, burn calories and stay more active during the workday. They are also unobtrusive, so your coworkers may not even know you are working out. Here are 5 simple exercises you can do from the privacy of your own office or cubicle.
#1. Leg Lifts
Leg lifts are easy to do, and very effective for building muscle tone and improving abdominal strength. Just sit squarely in your comfortable office chair, place your feet flat on the floor and slowly extend and lift your legs.
You can start with a set of 5 or 10, then slowly work up to more as you gain strength and muscle tone. Whether you do a continuous set during your daily breaks or squeeze them in where you can, you will be staying active and raising your energy level.
#2. Lift Weights
Your office may not be big enough for a weight bench, but you can still give your arm muscles a workout. Just pick up an assortment of small hand weights in a variety of sizes and do repetitions as you work.
You can lift dumbbells with one hand while you talk on the phone, take notes or do various office tasks. If you do not want to spring for a full set of weights, look for heavy objects you can lift, like that giant water bottle or that big manual you were supposed to read.
#3. The Shoulder Blade Squeeze
Sitting all the time can be a real posture killer, but you do not have to let it get you down. Shoulder blade squeezes are designed to improve your posture and help you sit taller at your desk.
To start the shoulder blade squeeze, pretend you are holding a pencil between your shoulder blades. Then slowly squeeze your shoulders together, hold for 10 seconds and relax. As you get better at the shoulder blade squeeze, you can increase the number of repetitions, the time you hold the position, or both.
#4. Chair Squats
Chair squats are easy to do, and this is the perfect exercise for those all-important short breaks. You start the chair squat from a standing position, placing yourself six inches in front of the chair.
As you stand six inches in front of the chair, slowly lower yourself to a sitting position. Pop back up as soon as your backside hits the chair, then repeat the process 5 to 10 times. As your leg muscles get stronger, you can extend the amount of time you do the squats and the number of squats you do.
#5. Standing Calf Raises
This exercise is great for building up your calf muscles, so you can take the stairs with confidence and eschew the office elevator. Start from a standing position, use your chair for balance and slowly raise yourself up by your calf muscles.
Try to do 5 to 10 calf raises when you first start, then slowly increase the number you do and their duration. Holding the position longer will increase the effectiveness of the exercise and also its difficulty.
You do not have to leave your desk to enjoy some great exercises. All you need is a chair and a cubicle, so there is no excuse not to work out. The give chair exercises listed above can help you get more out of your workday and enjoy more energy when you go home.
Still feeling back pain? Can’t keep up with your shoulder squeezes? The Redbit® Posture Brace, featuring patented Touri-on technology, provides upper back support to help relieve back pain with adjustable straps to help prevent hunching and slouching.
Watch this short video to learn more: