by Jane Dizon
According to a 2013 survey, 86 percent of American workers
sit with an average of 13 hours a day.
That accounts for more than half of a day.
Throw in your seven- to eight-hour sleep, and you’re looking at a staggering 21 hours of sedentary lifestyle, and that’s just in one day.
The benefits of exercising are backed up by countless research studies, but we all know it’s tough to stick with a regular routine. In fact, only 31 percent of American workers are committed to becoming more active according to a survey by Ergotron.
Why? You probably already know. Lack of time is the leading reason, according to a survey by the International Health Racquet and Sports Club Association (IHRSA).
We’re all pressed for time. Writers spend most of their time in front of their computers. It’s literally part of the job. Beating deadlines, endless proofreading, blogging, social media updates, and marketing tasks often require us to sit for hours a day.
Unfortunately, this is terrible for our health.
Most of us have experienced backaches and neck strains as a result of sitting too long. Even more dangerous are side effects like muscle degeneration, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease.
If lack of time is what stops you from exercising, try these 8 exercises you can do during quick breaks, in your chair!
1. Chair Dips
Easily target your shoulders and triceps with this exercise.
While sitting on the edge of your chair with arms at your sides and palms holding onto the edge, slowly shift your body forward. It will look like as if you’re suspending your body diagonally across your chair and floor.
Hold for five counts, and then slowly return to your initial position. Do 10 reps for three sets.
2. Garudasana (Eagle Pose) On Chair
This is a popular yoga pose that relaxes and strengthens your hips, ankles, wrists, and shoulders.
Yogi and Director of Writing at FREE Branding and Digital, Mandy Tibbert shares, “I love this pose! It easily loosens tight muscles in between my shoulder blades which are always a target of soreness after sitting all day.”
To perform this pose, cross your right leg over the left and hook your foot around your left calf if you can. Then place your left arm over the right, locking it in by bending your elbows and bringing your palms to touch.
Now this is the part where you stretch. Raise your elbows while you relax your shoulders away from your ears. Hold that position for five breaths. Do the same on the other side.
3. Chair Slide
The chair slide exercise works best to make the back of your thighs stronger and firmer. It is recommended that you use a chair with wheels for this exercise.
While sitting, extend your legs forward with your heels touching the floor and your toes up. Keeping your body still, simultaneously press your heels into the floor and bend your knees as you pull the chair toward your feet.
Afterwards, extend both legs again. Repeat up to ten times.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a chair with wheels, you can use a regular chair instead. Wear socks or lay a towel on the slick floor where you will place your heels. Bring the towel toward your chair, straighten your legs, and then slide the towel again to return to the starting position. Repeat ten times.
4. Chair Squats
Like the standard squats, chair squats helps strengthen and tone muscle groups such as your hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps.
Start by standing in front of a chair. Proper positioning involves placing your toes forward with feet hip-distance apart. Lean your chest forward a little. Bend your knees and aim to tap your bottom on the chair, making sure you don’t cheat by sitting. Then, stand back up.
Place your weight in your heels while doing this activity and keep your knees over your toes. Repeat around 10-12 times.
5. Seated Press Ups
“If you’re aiming to relieve compression from your spinal area,” says Ella Mager, Fitness Expert and Blogger at Sexy Fit Vegan, “performing a series of reps of seated press ups is perfect. Additionally, this exercise specifically does its magic on your triceps.”
Place both feet firmly on the floor while sitting comfortably in a chair. Rest your hands (palms down) on the arm rests, then slowly press down to lift your body off the chair. Allow your arms to extend with elbows straightened so your hips and buttocks are off the chair as well.
To improve posture, keep your head aligned over your pelvis. Let your spine loosen as you perform this exercise, creating space between each vertebra. You can either hold this position for an extended period of time, or work your arms by pushing up and down for three sets of 10 reps.
6. Leg Circles
Leg circles are known as a popular Pilates exercise to tone your inner thighs. But leg circles aren’t restricted to Pilates. You can perform this exercise while sitting and earn the same benefits.
Place your buttocks at the edge of the chair with left leg bent and the other straightened. You can grasp the edge of the chair for better stability. Begin to make small circles with your extended right leg, moving in a clockwise direction. Make bigger circles gradually, then switch directions.
Switch legs and repeat the exercise. Do 30 seconds of leg circles on each direction and leg.
7. Knee Raises
“Aside from the upper part of the abdominals, seated knee raises also target the lower part more effectively too,” says AJ Punsalan, Sport and Fitness Writer at Gym and Fitness. “Every time I need to rest my eyes from work, I just push my chair back and do a couple of sets. I got few minutes to rest my eyes and work on my core. Two birds, one stone.”
To start off, sit on a chair, feet flat on the floor, and keep your back straight. Raise one knee up as high as you can with your toes pointed. Slowly lower your foot to the ground, then turn to the other leg. Repeat for 60 seconds using your legs alternately. Challenge yourself by lifting both knees at once.
8. Cross-Legged Lift
This one is an excellent chair exercise that aims to build strength in your abdomen, chest, back, and arms.
Sit cross-legged in a chair, feet placed on the seat, hands on the armrests. With your stomach in, raise yourself a few inches off of the seat. Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds using your hands, arms, and core. Then, allow rest for thirty seconds.
Repeat this exercise five times.
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Jane Dizon is a digital marketer and writer by day, and a ninja mom by night.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing but her real passion is writing. She loves to write about anything and everything, including sales and marketing, health and fitness, dating and relationships, and productivity hacks.
“New Survey: To Sit or Stand? Almost 70% of Full Time American Workers Hate Sitting, but They do it all Day Every Day,” PrNewsWire.com, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-survey-to-sit-or-stand-almost-70-of-full-time-american-workers-hate-sitting-but-they-do-it-all-day-every-day-215804771.html
“Survey Explores Reasons Why Americans Don’t Go to Health Clubs,” ClubIndustry.com, http://clubindustry.com/studies/survey-explores-reasons-why-americans-don-t-go-health-clubs
5 Unhealthy Side Effects of Sitting All Day,” CheatSheet.com, http://www.cheatsheet.com/life/side-effects-of-sitting-all-day.html/?a=viewall
“Everybody Deserves a Good Chair,” HermanMiller.com, http://www.hermanmiller.com/research/research-summaries/everybody-deserves-a-good-chair.html.
Eagle Pose: Summer photograph designed by Yanalya – Freepik.com
Chair Squat: Designed by Freepik