Feel the Burn: Chair-Friendly Exercises

By  0 Comments

Being at your desk all day, plowing through work and growing your business, is a good sign. It means you’re busy, have clients who need you and income that pays the bills.

Anyone who works in an office, at home or otherwise, knows that spending a great deal of time sitting in a chair is part of being a working professional. However, studies have shown that too much sedentary time can wreak havoc on our physical well-being and possibly even shorten our lives.

According to the National Post, the average American office worker spends their day sitting for eight to ten hours. Business owners or employees working in an office five days a week, 48 weeks a year, can expect to spend around 1,700 to 1,800 hours a year, sitting. To put it in other terms, 1,200 hours is equal to 70 days and nights sitting down. It’s no wonder so many people suffer from a stiff, sore neck and an aching back at the end of the day.

Whether your office is in a multi-story building or your home, it’s not uncommon to find yourself hunched over a computer with terrible posture for hours on end. Despite that fact, chair-sitters can still get a healthy dose of exercise by thinking outside the box. Setting aside a handful of minutes a day to work on posture and overall health is time well spent.

So push away from your desk, put the phone on mute and mark yourself “do not disturb” while you experiment with the following office chair exercises to strengthen your body and clear your mind.

Upper Body
Neck Rolls: Much of our daily tension is carried right between our shoulder blades and, without even realizing it, we physically hold onto our stress in subtle ways. Several times throughout your work day, make a conscious effort to pause, release your shoulders from your ears, unclench your jaw and remove your tongue from the roof of your mouth. Your body will thank you for it.

Now roll your shoulders forward slowly to the count of ten and repeat going the opposite way. For good measure, take a deep breath in to count of seven. Then blow that same breath out to the count of seven. These simple steps repeated throughout the day will keep arms and shoulders from tensing up and stress headaches at bay.

Arm Circles: As you sit on your office chair, or any other chair that will keep your back straight and feet planted on the floor, touch your shoulders with your fingers. Without moving any other part of your body, roll your arms backward continuously in a circular motion. Make 40 arm circles and then switch and roll your shoulders and arms the opposite way to the count of 40.

Lower Body
Standing Leg Lifts: Begin by standing behind a chair with your right leg slightly in front of the left, holding onto the back of the chair for balance. Keeping your back straight and leaning slightly forward, lift your left foot a few inches off the floor or as high as you comfortably can, squeezing the buttocks as you do this. Lower your leg back down and repeat the movement eight to ten times. Switch sides to work the other leg and do another set of eight to ten repetitions.

Squats: Holding the back of a chair, stand with legs a little wider than shoulder width apart, with your toes pointed slightly outward. Bend your knees and lower yourself straight down, making sure your legs are wide enough apart so that your knees do not extend beyond your toes. Return to the starting position by pushing through your heels as you come back up. Repeat ten times at a slow pace.

Hand Health
In a world of scrolling and clicking, our finger joints and tendons can take a beating. Don’t forget to set aside some time to flex your fingers and stretch those muscles and joints as well. Stretching exercises for hands can include making the “OK” sign with finger and thumb and holding that stretch to the count of ten with every finger on each hand. Even squeezing a stress ball several times a day will keep fingers and joints limber.

Practice the Rule of Ten
Stretches and exercises are great for keeping our bodies limber and keeping our circulation flowing, but there is no replacement for good old-fashioned movement. When you know you will be spending long periods sitting, practice the rule of ten; for every hour you sit, get up and take a walk for at least ten minutes. Use that time to take a walk or burn some calories walking up and down the stairs.

Sources: millersatwork.com, nationalpost.com, polk-fl.net and workingmother.com.