Working that 8-5 grind? I feel your pain. But that doesn’t mean our bodies have to.
From commuting in your car, to spending the whole day at your desk, it’s likely that you are spending a majority of your day sitting. In fact, most people spend more time sitting than they do sleeping (an average of 9.3 hours per day versus 7.7*).
The bad news? Sitting for long periods of time is extremely detrimental to your health. According to this infographic from Medical Billing and Coding, here’s what happens as soon as you sit: electrical activity in your leg muscles shuts down, calorie burning drops to one per minute and enzymes that help break down fat decline 90%. That’s just what happens right when you sit—imagine the effects of sitting for 6+ hours! (Yikes).
With such negative side effects, it’s crucial to try to split up long periods of sitting as much as possible. Aim for taking a break every 20 minutes or so, even if it’s just to stand up and stretch. Want to take it further? Try doing some of these deskercises:
Take a Lap
Get up and take a quick walk around your building, office or cubicle (you can even step in place). No matter where you are, changing your position and perspective can help reset your brain so you are more focused when you come back.
Push-ups and Dips
Turn your desk into a bench and do some standing push-ups and tricep dips. Depending on the height of your desk, one may work better than the other (you can really use anything that gives you leverage). Taking a quick break to do these helps with blood flow and circulation—having toned ‘ceps isn’t the worst thing either.
Jumping jacks are a quick way to get your heart rate up, increase your metabolism and improve oxygen levels in the body. If you’re feeling sluggish, try standing up and doing sets of 25. Not only will you raise your energy level, but you’ll also reduce stress. Say goodbye to your afternoon cup of joe.
It’s no secret that squats help build your leg and glute muscles, but did you know that they are also good for digestion? Plus, they are a total body workout that help improve your posture and balance. Squats are especially good because they allow more oxygen and blood to flow around your knee joints to help make them stronger.
Calf raises help you build strength in your lower legs, and can be done virtually anywhere. Take your standing to the next level by adding some raises, either holding on to something or not (depending on your balance skills).
Incorporate yoga into your day with a sun salutation to refresh both your body and mind. Start with your feet together, arms by your side and shoulders down. Inhale and raise your arms overhead, bringing your gaze toward the ceiling. Exhale and dive your heart forward, placing your hands on the floor in a forward fold. Inhale, bring your hands to your shins and your body halfway up with a flat back, then exhale back down. Your last inhale brings you all the way back up with your arms overhead.
Use some (or all) of these moves after sitting for long periods of time to feel reenergized and ready to take on the rest of your work day.
*Source: Medical Billing and Coding infographicThis blog post was originally published in April 2016.