The bigger percentage of the world’s working population sits for approximately nine hours a day, 5 days a week. If the job doesn’t require you to sit at a desk, there are conferences and weekly meetings that will force you to sit for long hours. And because you will most likely drive home or take a bus/train, you still have another hour of daily chair time. In that light, you need to find effective ways of giving yourself sufficient muscle-toning for a better and more active life.
There are tons of health risks that shoot from prolonged chair time. For starters, sitting down for prolonged periods is among the key contributors to obesity cases among middle-aged Americans. Other risks include heart disorders, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. These risks are mainly as a result of your body’s slowed metabolism: The more inactive your body is, the slower its metabolism gets. Slow metabolism means a poor breakdown of body fat, reduced ability to regulate body sugar, and irregular body pressure.
If you are looking for ways of injecting physical activity into your working day, here are 6 proven ways of turning each day at work into an active mini-workout:
- Try chair push-ups
You need an office chair with wheels and a floor space that allows the chair to scoot freely and easily. With that, go ahead and sit in the middle of the chair such that your back doesn’t lean on the chair’s backrest. Now lean forward slightly until you feel like your chest is about 2 inches shy of hugging your desk.
With your elbows slightly bent along your body’s sides, without adjusting the position of your chest or chair, reach out for the desktop or any other bulky, shoulder-wide item on your desk. Grab the item with both hands and start scooting your chair back without adjusting your body’s position, until your arms are maximally extended. Repeat this for at least 15 times every day for a stronger upper body. This simple exercise works out your triceps, chest, shoulder muscles, biceps, and almost all core muscles in your upper body.
- Ditch the car
If you need a magazine while at work, walk to the magazine store that’s a few blocks from your office. If you live nearby such that you can conveniently walk to and from work, by all means, do it. If you live far from the workplace but not too far for a bike, please bike to work as often as possible.
Biking burns almost as many calories as jogging and puts significantly lesser stress on the joints. It also improves your cardiovascular and aerobic fitness, helps build upper body and leg muscles, improves body coordination, and lowers your blood pressure, among other benefits. Go ahead and acquire a bike or even an electric bike for a more active ride to work.
- Take the stairs
This should be obvious. Or is it? Millions of workers opt to take the elevator instead of doing the obvious thing- taking the stairs. Believe me, you would rather climb stairs for ten minutes and climb down for another ten than take an elevator. You will be burning over 300 calories for doing “the obvious”.
- Tilt that pelvic
Like with the pushups, doing the pelvic is simple. Fit in the middle of the chair and ensure that your feet are resting on the floor easily and as flat as possible. Not that your legs MUST NOT move throughout this exercise. Now stick your butt out and place your hands on the edge of your desk. From that position, without moving your legs or arms, slowly pull your hips forward so that they rest underneath your stomach. If you are doing it right, the butt will have automatically moved back underneath your upper body. Hold this position for half a minute and then repeat the procedure. Do this for 20 consecutive times, as many times you can throughout the day. This exercise helps you with flexibility.
- Stand up regularly and move more
Another obvious one: Break the monotonous routine of 8-hour sitting by standing up every 30 minutes. You need to stand for at least 2 hours during your workday for improved vascular health. Find reasons to walk to a coworker. Don’t throw stuff around or roll in your chair. Don’t just send an email or text to a colleague. Stand up and walk to their office. You can even acquire a standing desk to use when sending mails, stapling papers, or when typing on your computer.
- Make the most of your lunch break
Lunchtime should not be the time to chat on WhatsApp or check out Instagram and answer emails. Take an actual break outside the office, get active while at it. Moreover, if you find some extra-time be creative and put some grow lights for your flowers or plants near your desk, putting some nice plants near your desk will only benefit you. This will give you a feeling of refreshment. You will be feeling better, energized, and refreshed for the day’s remaining half.
It won’t be easy to achieve an active work routine when your job requires you to do the opposite. It will require resilience, commitment, and resilience on your part. Start small and work your way up gradually. Many people have done it before you. You, too, can!
Author: Monica Gibson