The word exercise comes from the Latin exercere, meaning to keep busy or at work.
But what the typical adult does at work is sit in a desk chair for eight hours, plus a sitting-down commute both ways and an evening spent in front of the TV. This is a recipe for ruin.
Exercise is simply the act of keeping your body busy, using your muscles and bones while your heart keeps pumping. You may feel you have no time to do any such thing amid all the rapid-fire e-mails and six-person conference calls. You’re not alone.
According to a 2009 survey by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health, nearly 50% of adults in the U.S. admit that they don’t engage in the suggested 30 minutes, five days a week of moderate physical activity or the suggested 20 minutes, three times a week of vigorous activity. In short, about half of Americans don’t get the physical exercise they need.
But there are exercises you can do right at your desk to keep your body moving. They’ll help you improve your body’s flexibility and strength with nothing but a few minutes and your desk chair. Just remember to check with a doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
Here are some helpful tips to help you :
Make sure you sit at your desk the right way, adjust the height so you’re in a 90-90-90 position–feet flat on the floor or on a foot rest and your knees and hips bent at 90-degree angles. Keep your lower spine flat against the back of the chair to maintain proper curvature.
The top one-third of the monitor should be above eye level, both to decrease eyestrain and to prevent hunching forward, make sure you’re not craning your neck forward.
Stretching is important, try the neck stretch: Touch your ear to your shoulder and hold it there. For a chest opener, stretch your arms back as if you were trying to grab a pencil between your shoulder blades. Stand in a doorway, hold the door frame on each side and walk forward until you feel a stretch in your chest. Last, try supported back extensions. Hold your hips and gently extend your back by bending backward.”
Stand at your desk, and, arms straight, place your palms on the desk with your fingers pointed toward you. Lower your body slowly until you feel the stretch, hold for 15 seconds.
Sit in your chair with your legs crossed and your feet on the seat. Then place your hands on the armrests, suck in your gut and raise yourself a few inches above the seat, using your belly, muscles and hands. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat five times.
For lower-body strength, try the “Wooden Leg.” Sit in your chair. Extend one leg out straight in front of you. Hold for two seconds. Then raise it up as high as you can, and hold it again for two seconds. Repeat with each leg 15 times.
If this is too much to remember, take the stairs (two at a time!), not the elevator. Get up from your desk and go talk to your coworkers instead of e-mailing them. Park in the farthest part of the lot, or walk or bike to work. Sip water all day. A homemade lunch with lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains will help you steer clear of the vending machine while keeping your wallet fat and your waistline trim. Above all, just don’t be lazy.