If you work a desk job, this may be important news for you to hear: sitting is the new smoking. It’s been proven that sitting at a desk all day increases your chances for diabetes and heart disease, and also welcomes weight gain, anxiety, and even organ damage.
So, what can you do to fight it?
Well, you can start off by taking as many opportunities to walk around as possible. Need to fax some forms to a client? Do it yourself instead of asking your secretary. Is your pen just out of reach? Stand up to get it instead of wheeling your chair over. Is your boss buzzing in? Use the phone call as an opportunity to pace around your office space.
However, if you truly want to fix your sedentary lifestyle, try scheduling regular times for you to perform some simple office yoga moves. Light physical activities like stretching can help increase blood flow, circulation, brain productivity and your posture by realigning your spine and working your muscles. Every 1.5 hours, try taking a 5-10 minute break to walk around and give some of these moves a try.
1) Seated side stretch and straighten
Ease yourself into your office yoga routine with a seated stretch. This will help realign your back and correct your posture, and this is also an easy one to do regularly at your seat in between emails.
2) Desk Shoulder Open
After you’ve completed your upper back stretch, stretch out your lower back with the move you see above. This will also help improve your posture by lengthening your entire spine.
3) Forward Fold
After completing the desk shoulder open, gradually move your chair back (while maintaining the position) until you are standing. Then, fold your back and drop your top half completely to the ground. From this position, you can cross your arms and let them hang or leave them limp and sway your body back and forth for an increased stretch.
4) Standing thigh stretch
Once you feel like your back is completely stretched out, take some time to move your legs and hips around. Sitting isn’t good for your body’s lower half either, so really take the time to make sure each legs is thoroughly stretched out. Then, if you’re up for it, place both legs on the ground and widen your feet so they are several feet apart from each other. From here, twist your body around to stretch out your hips.
5) Desk Plank/Chaturanga
End your stretching with a leaning plank against your desk. This is the one strengthening exercise in this set for two reasons: 1) too many strength exercises will simply make you more stiff, and 2) doing just one at the end will re-awaken your body’s muscles. This desk plank will work your neglected core and overworked typing arms, two body zones that are severely affected when at a desk all day. Hold this for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or for as long as you can. You can also choose to do multiple sets of these throughout the day, but we wouldn’t recommend doing more than three 1-minute planks a day.