We can’t help it that we have to sit down at work all day. And things have gotten even worse with the rise of computers and the internet. The truth is, sitting too much is really bad for you. Office workers can spend up to 15 hours per day sitting, which can affect the number of calories you burn and increase your chance of getting certain diseases.
Unfortunately, we can’t all just quit our jobs and wander around all our lives (even though that’s the dream). All we can do is combat the negative effects that come along with sitting by moving our body more often and staying healthy. These exercises are for all you office folks out there that are working hard at your desk. We feel your pain.
Here are nine targeted exercises to counter the negative effects of sitting all day.
You might have heard that the plank is key to an amazing stomach. And that’s because it strengthens your core. But a strong core has other benefits, like helping to keep your posture from sagging when you sit at work.
This exercise works your shoulders and upper back, which can get hunched over and sore after a day of slumping over a computer. So use this exercise to strengthen your upper body for better posture and to help work out that tightness.
The glute bridge is the perfect exercise to do after a long day of sitting. This simple move helps to strengthen your butt, hamstrings, and core, which will help improve your posture. Having a strong posterior chain (a fancy term for all the muscles along the back of your body) can also help combat back pain. And we’ve definitely felt a little of that after a long day at our desk.
Squats might be the #1 exercise for strengthening your whole body. Squats make your legs, butt, and lower back stronger. Plus, they help work out the tension in tight hips after sitting all day. They also build up hip flexor muscles, so your hips don’t get as tight during the day.
After hunching over a computer all day, you really need exercises that open up all the muscles on the back of your body. This exercise helps you do that by stretching from your shoulder blades to your lower back. Plus, the motion allows your joints to move a little after being pretty still for many hours in a row.
If you can do a full push-up on the ground, that’s awesome. But for those of us whose upper bodies are a little weaker, the incline push-up can help build up your strength to eventually get to a push-up. You can use a bed, a couch, or even your desk at work to give you an incline that will give you a great workout. And push-ups build strength in your chest and core, which can also help combat your poor posture while sitting.
Because you can always use a little more core work, the mountain climber is another exercise that helps build up that center of your strength. And these dynamic exercises also help with mobility in your knees and hips. And we need a little mobility after a long day of sitting.
One of the best stretches for opening up your hips is the runner’s lunge. This stretch can really be felt in your hip flexors, and it helps runners lengthen their stride. So it can definitely help you when your body has gotten too tight from all that desk work.
And last, but probably most important, just get moving. Regardless of what you love to do, get some cardio in. Take your dog for a walk, play a sport, go for a run, take a class, hit the elliptical — as Nike taught us, just do it. According to a study in The Lancet, people who work for eight hours a day, approximately six of which are sitting, should get an hour of exercise per day. This doesn’t need to be vigorous or hard. Just get moving.
Even if it’s just squeezing in a few minutes to stretch at your desk, any way to take a break from sitting is a good idea.
Because once you get moving, you’ll feel so good, we bet you won’t want to stop.