The sedentary lifestyle that is becoming the norm for people today can seriously affect health. Heart diseases, joint diseases, diabetes, cancer, and impotence are just a few of the problems that can arise from staying in one position all day long.
When you are active, your muscles improve neuromuscular, biomechanical and matabolic mechanisms to adapt to the load. When you sit without moving for a long time, however, your metabolism slows down and the transport of oxygen and glucose to your cells deteriorates.
Therefore, even if you don’t have the opportunity to exercise regularly, it’s worth doing exercises to keep your body toned.
Sitting for a long time can worsen your posture and decrease the tone of your whole body. To prevent this, you can perform both the classical plank and the side plank.
There are many types of this exercise, so let’s describe the algorithm of the most popular of them. To perform it you need: to stand in the “lying support” position, raise your head, straighten your shoulders and place your hands at shoulder level at a ninety degree angle. At the same time you should tense your abdomen, squeeze your buttocks and connect your feet.
An equally popular variation is the elbow plank, which is performed in much the same way, but the fulcrum is the arms bent at a ninety-degree angle at the elbows. Start with thirty seconds and every few days increase the duration by another thirty. Ideally, you should bring it up to three to four minutes.
As for the side plank, there are also many types. For an untrained person, the simplest one will do. To do this, lie on your side and rest your forearms on the floor, placing your elbow exactly under the shoulder joint. As in the case of the straight bar, you should tense your stomach and squeeze your buttocks. Your other arm should rest loosely at your side. Then raise your hips. In the correct position, you will feel the load on your muscular corset, not on your forearms.
Hold the position for thirty seconds. Increase the duration by another thirty every few days.
2. Leg swing
This exercise will help you work your abs as well as your thigh muscles to avoid congestion in your genitals. To do the leg swings, lie on the floor with your hands at your sides, palms down. Then lift your heels and head off the ground. If you feel your abs tense, it means you are doing it right. Then take turns swinging your legs up and down. You will be doing something like scissors. Your heels should not touch the floor.
3. Head bends
This exercise will help relax neck muscles that have become stiff during low activity and relieve discomfort or pain. It will also help reduce the intensity of headaches.
To do the exercise, stand up straight with your hands at your sides. Tilt your head back, hold the position for three seconds. Then return to the starting position and tilt your head forward, placing your chin on your chest. Wait another three seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat again five to ten times each way.
One approach three times a day is enough to reduce headaches and neck pain. Keep in mind that you should do the exercise smoothly and slowly. And don’t try to tilt your head back too much: this is dangerous.
Also do bends to the sides. All the same steps as above are valid for this, but instead of “forward-backward” do “right-left”.
4. “Fire hydrant”
Sitting for long periods of time can cause pain in the hip because of a stiffness or improper posture. The exercise “Fire Hydrant” is a good way to stretch the muscles.
To do it, kneel down and lean with outstretched straight arms on the floor, palms down. Then, keeping your knee bent at a 90-degree angle, take it away from your body so that it rises to about stomach level (you can go lower if your stretching is not good enough). As you lift your leg, hold it for three seconds.
Take turns doing the exercise with each leg.
5. Reverse pushups
Most office work is related to computers, which causes the hands to be in the same position for long periods of time. This leads to discomfort and pain in the elbows and wrists.
To get rid of the discomfort, you can do reverse pushups. To do this, stand with your back to a table. Place your hands on the edge of the table to ensure a secure grip and that the fingers are directed towards your body. Keep your elbows as close to your body as possible. Extend your legs long in front of you and rest your heels on the floor. Be sure to bend your arms slightly at the elbows to avoid hurting your joints.
Then slowly bend your elbows so that your body lowers to the floor until your shoulder and forearm form an angle of ninety degrees. Hold the lower position for three seconds and return to the starting position. Do the exercise slowly and keep your back straight.
6. Stretching for the shoulders
Many people, in addition to working at the computer, often have to make calls and hold the phone to their ear for a long time. This can cause discomfort in the cervical vertebrae and even cause them to become irreversibly deformed. It also leads to neck strain, shoulder and back pain.
To reduce the negative effects, do some stretching: raise both arms up, then fold your right hand behind your head so that its palm rests on your left shoulder. Then bend your left arm so that it touches the palm of your right hand’s elbow. Grasp the elbow and hold it for thirty seconds. Then repeat the same thing, but for the other side. Five to ten repetitions of the exercise are enough.
7. Shoulder lift with dumbbells
If you don’t have dumbbells at home or if you do this exercise in the office, you can take two roughly equal weights, such as water bottles. To do the dumbbell shoulder lift, stand up straight and put your feet shoulder width apart. Then sit down, grab the dumbbells (or other weight) and stand with them, using the strength of your legs rather than your back muscles.
Position your arms with the dumbbells along your body. Keep your posture straight, and tense your abs and lower back. Raise your shoulders as high as possible, as if you were trying to touch your ears with them. When you reach your maximum point of lift, lower the dumbbells to the starting position. After completing the reps, bend your knees and slowly place the dumbbells on the floor. As with all strength exercises, this should be done smoothly without jerks.
8. Torso twist
One of the easiest exercises that requires little to no space and will help reduce lower back discomfort or pain caused by the same posture kept for a long time.
You’ll need a rotating chair for this exercise. Sit upright on the chair with your feet slightly elevated above the floor. Then grasp the edges of the table so that your thumbs rest on the edge of the tabletop. Start rotating slowly from side to side (15 times on each side).
Sitting for long periods of time greatly affects the legs and glutes, especially the hamstrings, inner thighs and quadriceps, which causes a general loss of strength. To eliminate this problem and improve body tone, lunges are very good.
There are different types of lunges, but it is best to perform the simplest one in the office. To do the exercise, put your hands at your waist, your feet are already shoulder width apart. Step forward with your right leg and bend it at right angles in the knee. The left foot should stand on the toe, and the heel should be elevated. Your back should be straight, do not bend it. Return to the starting position by pushing off the floor with your right hand. Repeat the same for the other side. Five repetitions for each side are enough.
10. “Office” bench press
This trivial name hides a rather effective exercise.
Sitting on a chair, lift your legs, trying to form a 90-degree angle between your body and your legs. Then put your hands on the armrests and press them to raise your body above the seat. While at the top point, start swaying slightly up and down without touching the chair with your buttocks. Ten movements are enough.
It is important that your elbows are slightly bent to reduce the chance of injury, and that the armrests are strong enough to support your body weight.