Most of us spend our average day sitting; we sit at our desks, we sit in our cars, and in the evenings we’re likely to spend much our time watching TV or surfing online. But research shows that all that sedentary time increases your risk for obesity and can lead to back pain, poor posture, leg cramps, and tense muscles. What to do? Take regular breaks to move — even while at your desk. Here are 5 exercises you can do without leaving your workstation.
The Shoulder Squeeze
Roll your shoulders back a few times, and leave them in a down and relaxed position. Then, raise arms out to side at shoulder height, with elbows bent and hands forward. Bring both elbows back to squeeze the shoulder blades, then extend and straighten arms all the way forward. Alternate the shoulder squeeze and arm extension 10–15 times.
The Shoulder Roll
Sit with your feet shoulder-width apart. (You can also do this exercise standing, which gives you a chance for a quick stretch, too.) Roll your shoulders up, then back, and then down in a smooth, circular motion. Repeat 2 to 4 times. See this Kaiser Permanente handout for illustrated instructions.
The Chorus Line
Extend one leg out straight in front of you and hold for two seconds. Raise it up as high as you can and hold again for two seconds. Repeat on each leg 15 times.
Stand in front of your chair with your feet at hip’s width apart. Lower yourself until you’re almost touching your seat and hold for three seconds. Slowly sit down, then repeat 10 times.
The Double Leg Raise
Remaining seated, extend your legs and reach toward your toes. Hold for 20 seconds. To help you balance, sit as far back in your chair as you can. And if your legs still tilt down toward the carpet, don’t worry; as you get stronger you’ll be able to hold this position longer.
There are many more office workout exercises you can do to improve strength and flexibility. Check out these stretches and muscle builders for more ideas.