By: Grace Derocha – May 2016
On average, people spend 9.3 hours every day in the seated position. Whether in the car, at a desk (student or professional) or on the couch watching television, the majority of us are sitting for longer periods of time throughout the day than we spend sleeping. In a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers report that people who spend more hours of the day sitting have up to a 66% higher risk of developing certain types of cancer than those who aren’t as sedentary. While it can certainly be difficult to find time throughout the school or work day to get up and move around, there are a number of ways you can fit in exercise right at your desk (even if you have to sit!), within a matter of minutes. So what are you waiting for? Start desk-ercising!
- Glute Squeeze
The easiest desk exercise is the glute squeeze. To start toning, simply squeeze the buttocks, hold for 5-10 seconds, release and repeat.
- Seated Leg Raise
While seated, straighten one or both legs and hold in place for 10 or more seconds. Then lower the leg(s) back to the ground without letting your feet touch the floor. Repeat movement (alternating legs if raising them separately) for 15 reps. Underwhelmed? Loop a purse or briefcase strap over the ankle for added weight. Your glutes will thank you.
To increase arm strength, place both hands on your desk, walk your feet back to a 45-degree angle and push off with as much force as possible. An average of 10-12 reps every day will make a difference in no time!
- Book Press
Work your triceps and get your blood pumping with book presses. Grab the heaviest book you have, hold it behind your head and then extend your arms up. Drop it back down by your neck and repeat.
- Shoulder Blade Squeezes
Poor posture can lead to a plethora of health problems. Try this exercise to help straighten out your back. Pretending to hold a pencil in between your shoulder blades, squeeze them together for 10 seconds, release and then repeat.
- Chair Squats
Get your glutes summer-ready with regular chair squats. Stand a few inches in front of your chair and lower yourself down until your butt hits the edge, then pop back up and repeat for a total of 8-10 reps.
- Standing Calf Raises
One of the most inconspicuous desk exercises is the standing calf raise. At the printer, your desk or even while standing in the lunch line, start with both feet shoulder-width apart, press up onto the balls of your feet, pause at the top for 10 seconds and then lower back down. After two or three sets of 12-15 reps, you should be feeling the burn. For even more of a challenge, try raising only one leg at a time.
Stretch your shoulder blade muscles by holding both of your arms up and out, extended away from your body to your left and right. Make big circles on each side ensuring your reach extends to the area above the head and down to the knees.
- Wall Sit
To work your core and leg muscles while reading an article or meeting materials, try a wall sit. Place your back against a blank wall space, then squat down to a 90-degree angle and hold for 30-60 seconds. Slide back up and repeat. If you’re looking for something a little more difficult, try crossing one leg over the other while still at a 90-degree angle against the wall and hold the position for 15 seconds.
- Seated Bicycle Pedal
While sitting at the edge of your chair, hold onto the arm rests and begin bringing each knee up to your chest, like you’re riding a bicycle. Maintain a smooth and consistent pace for as long as possible. Work out your abdominals and give yourself a midday wake-up call with this one.
We want to know: How do you stay active work?
About Grace Derocha
Grace Derocha is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and certified health coach. She loves helping others learn how to live a healthier and happier lifestyle. Grace was born and raised in Michigan. She is a wife, mommy, Spartan, and avid Detroit sports fan. She loves food, music, dancing, shopping, reading, and smiling.
This article is supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan