Whether I have my “corporate wellness coach” or “holistic health coach” hat on (same thing, different audience), I often get asked about the reports on the danger of sitting too long. Research continues to support these reports but how are we, as largely a society of desk-jockeys, supposed to combat this? Gadgetry such as treadmill desks, in-office gym equipment, and mini trampolines have been put forth as solutions to combat our sedentary ways. These are all great but really, it doesn’t need to be that complicated. Each of us has the perfect machine already: our bodies.
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Having the awareness to move consistently is half the battle. Setting a timer for each hour as a reminder to move is a good way to cultivate a habit. This can be done by anyone, regardless of vocation. Setting an alarm may not be always possible as meetings, lunches, and responsibilities go long but when possible, it serves as a good reminder. So what to do when the buzzer goes off?
Beyond going for a walk or hitting the stairs (both great and keep at it!), here are five simple exercises that will not only get you up and moving, but will stretch and strengthen your body when performed regularly. Do 8-12 repetitions of each exercise, 1-3 sets as time allows. As always, check with your medical professional before starting an exercise routine.
- Squats— Stand up, feet pointed straight ahead and shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in your knees, and pretend that you are sitting down. Keep your weight in your heels without allowing your knees to extend over the top of your feet. You can also vary your stance to work different muscles in your legs: wider leg stance; toes pointed out.
- Incline desk push-ups — Securely place your hands against the edge of your desk (make sure your desk can’t move!), shoulder-width apart, while keeping your back straight and abs engaged. Push yourself away from the desk while in the leaning position.
- Stationary lunges— Straddle your stance (one foot in front of you with whole foot on the ground while opposite foot is behind you and using only the toes) and bend back leg to lower body. Again, don’t allow front knee to go over the toes.
- Triceps dips — Using your chair (that doesn’t roll!) or a sturdy table/desk, place your hands on the edge (palms down, gripping the edge) and bend your arms to slowly lower yourself about six inches lower than the edge. Raise yourself by straightening your arms, elbows in.
- Chair crunches –While sitting towards front edge of your chair, place your hands behind you grabbing the back sides of the chair. Raise your legs in front of you and pull your knees towards your chest.
Each of these exercises can be modified and made more or less intense but this is a great routine as it is. The point it: get moving! Whether you need a personal health coach or a corporate wellness coach, contact me for a free initial consultation at: email@example.com