By: Lisa Payne
Whether you work in a cubicle or communal workspace, office life can leave little opportunity for more movement than a coffee run. But when your job requires heavy-duty sitting time, how do you break the mold and counteract all that inactivity?
Squeezing in workouts around work hours is a must. But even if you exercise, you still sit for the majority of the day. Think of it this way: When you lift weights at the gym, you gain balanced muscle. When you regularly sit, you gain strength in muscles that can distort your posture and leave your body imbalanced.
Establish better work-to-life balance with these five exercises for office workers:
Sitting can shorten your hip flexors, leading you to round over and weaken your core. Lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air. Lower the legs down until they hover just above the ground. Lift your legs back up by initiating from your core.
Come into downward-facing dog with your hips up in the air. Not only is this one of the best stretch exercises for office workers, you can work glutes from here too. Keeping your legs straight, raise your left leg up behind you and then your right. For an additional challenge, put an exercise ball between your legs.
Since we hunch and flex over our laptops, our back-extensor muscles can also weaken. Lie face down on your stomach with your legs together and your hands underneath your shoulders. Lift and extend your upper body off the ground with your back muscles. Use your abs to lower down.
Rounded shoulders need wall angels. Stand with your back against a wall and your feet about a foot away. Make a goal post with arms touching the wall. Reach your fingertips above your head towards each other, then pull your elbows down the wall using your back muscles.
All that hard work sitting requires some mobility. From your chair, turn your torso to the right with both hands on the arm of the chair. Drop the shoulders and twist to the left. When your spine stays flexible, your shoulders and hips will too!
Sitting, as they say, is the new smoking. While you can’t quit your job, you can counter-sit with specific exercises for office workers to rectify imbalance and improve posture. Be proactive! Movement is a much healthier habit!