It may come as a surprise to you that over ten million people are part of the Australian work force. What’s even more surprising is that only roughly two-thirds of them are considered full-time employees while the remaining third only work on a part-time or freelance basis.
One of the most alarming things about Australia’s labor statistics; however, is how many of them work eight hours a day or even more, simply sitting down in their office chair. If you’re one if these people who constantly sit down at work, here are a couple of exercises to combat its long-term, negative effects.
A lot of these exercises focus on dynamic movements and stretching as well as core strengthening. The best part is that you don’t need equipment for most of these workouts. And if you do need any, they’re just common household items.
Before you begin any form of physical activity, we recommend doing a bit of warmup stretching. If there’s only one stretch you can do, we suggest doing some leg swings. Start off by swinging your leg in a pendulum motion from the front to the back. Once you’ve done enough of those, swing them from left to right.
The Table Pigeon Pose
You can actually do exercises with the table you sit in front of the entire day. Known as the table pigeon pose, you need to put your leg on top of a table with your leg at an angle that’s as close to 90º as possible. Once you got yourself in this position, place one of your hands on the edge of the table and the other one on your bent foot for some stability.
Lean forward and hold that position for a minute and a half. Lean to the left and right as well, at around ten and two o’ clock respectively. Do this pose at least twice on a day to day basis.
If you have a couch at work, you can get up every now and again to do some couch stretches. For this exercise, you want to place the knee of your target leg on the couch and plant your other foot on the ground.
From this position, try your best to stand back up straight and tall. Hold this posture for as long as you can – aim for four minutes on each side – while squeezing your butt and hips area. If this version of the stretch has become to easy for you, try putting your leg that’s not being stretched on the couch as well.
If you have a bit more space, you can do some planks. Almost everybody knows what a plank looks like, but not many how to do them properly. To do a correct plank, put your forearms on the mat shoulder-width apart with your shoulders on top of your elbows.
On the other hand, your feet should not be flat on the ground. Instead, you should be on your toes. Squeeze your thigh and butt areas while planking, and keep your core engaged the whole time as well. Hold the plank for as long as you possibly can – at least 30 seconds will do the trick.
Squats are another perfect exercise to counteract the negative effects of sitting at a desk all day. The first kind of squat you can do is the goblet squat, which requires you to be in a stance wider than your hips’ width.
Afterwards, you’re going to bend your knees as if you’re sitting down on an imaginary chair. It’s important that you go as low as you possibly can.
However, don’t allow your knees to pass your ankles. Aim for at least 15 reps. If you want more of a challenge, hold a weight while doing goblet squats. This could be a kettlebell or a dumbbell, or something as simple as a filled bottle of water.
Another kind of squat you can do if you sit around at work all day is the grok squat, which closely resembles how a catcher positions himself in a baseball game.
To this exercise, plant your feet on the ground and straighten your back. Hold for 30 seconds to a full minute. You should feel this stretch in your groin and lower back. This may take some time to get used to, but is an extremely effective stretch.
So there you have a couple of exercises that can combat the effects of sitting at a desk job the whole day. Remember though that it would be much better to regularly participate in other forms of physical activity such as running or going to the gym to get the best results.