Chair Exercises: Office Sedentary Lifestyle & Easy Ways to be More Active
Making small, healthy choices every day makes your body strong and gives you energy. You try to eat your superfoods and get your daily physical activity at home, but it’s not so easy at work! If you work in an office, it’s tough to find time to fit physical activity into your day. In this article, we’ll show you some quick, easy chair exercises you can do any time in your cubicle!
Even if you don’t work in a cubicle, these chair exercises are a fun, easy way to get the blood pumping.
Sedentary Lifestyle Definition
Studies have shown that extended time spent sitting (8-9 hours per day) has the following adverse health risks.
Larger waist size
higher risk of heart disease
increased risk of depression
lower thinking ability
increased risk of diabetes
increased risk of cardiovascular disease
Taking the time to do chair exercises can rejuvenate your mind, get the blood pumping again, and counter those negative effects of sitting.
10 Simple Chair Exercises
1. Seated Leg Raises
You don’t even need to stop working for this one! Just point your toes, straighten your knees and slowly raise your legs until they point parallel to the floor, then lower them. Try ten reps, then a short rest, then ten more. If you find it too difficult, try it with each leg at a time. After a few weeks of single-legs, try both legs again!
2. Chair Squats
This exercise works out big muscle groups in the legs and lower back. Hold a squat over your chair, or push your chair back slightly for 10-20 seconds. Make sure your weight is on your heels. Repeat five times. Hold for longer or pulse for a bigger challenge.
3. Heel Raises
Heel raises are another discreet exercise you can do while working away. Just press both feet flat on the floor. Adjust your chair or remove your shoes if possible to be sure your heels touch the floor. Slowly raise your heels until you feel your calf muscles stretch, then lower them. This exercise stops lower leg pain when sitting or wearing high heels for a long time.
4. Wrist Stretches
Reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome with these wrist extends at least every hour. Stretch your arms forward, relaxing your wrists and hands. Next, point one palm forward, like you’re gesturing “stop.” Use your other hand to pull the fingertips back toward your face gently. You should feel a stretch along the underside of your forearm. Alternate sides for three sets.
5. Neck Rolls
Staring at the screen can make your neck hold unnatural positions for extended periods of time. Avoid office neck pain with this feel-good stretch. Simply sit up straight, close your eyes, and lower your chin to your chest. Slowly roll your neck clockwise, keeping it as relaxed as possible. Do three rotations in each direction, add gentle traction for an added stretch.
6. Toe Tapping
Sitting puts a squeeze on blood flow to your legs. Small toe-taps and movements of the feet keep them oxygenated, reducing pain and helping your heart.
7. Seated Crunches
Scoot to the edge of your seat, then lean back with a straight back. Keep your arms firmly in the armrests, and raise your knees to your chest, then lower them. Be careful doing this on a chair with wheels, as you may set it off balance and topple over. Try to do at least ten reps. Another option is simply flexing your abdominals and holding for 30-45 seconds 3-4 times.
8. Take Walking Breaks
Another easy physical activity at work is taking frequent, short breaks to walk around. It gets your blood flowing, and wakes you up, improving thinking and alertness. It’s also an excellent way to get rid of writer’s block or to think of a way to respond to that annoying email. Easy tip? Drink more water which will not only hydrate you but force you to get up to go to the bathroom more frequently!
9. Get Active on the Way to Work
The ultimate office activity: walk or bike to work for a big boost to your weekly exercise routine. If you’re worried you’ll be too tired to get home after a long day, arrange a pickup from a loved one for the first few weeks until you get more confident.
10. Try a Standing Desk
Standing desks eliminate many of the risks of sitting all day. Check out this hearty soul article on the benefits of standing at work!