Do you ever wonder where the day goes when you’re stuck sitting behind a desk? Your body does too. While your mind is busy forging ahead and tackling your workload, your body is not doing much other than just being sedentary. Stand-up desks, lunchtime walks, and frequent stretch breaks are all recommended ways to stay active and break up long workdays. However, if you find your body is softening or your metabolism is plummeting, you might need more than light movements throughout the day.
Even if you manage to get in a few workouts a week, incorporating strength training exercises on a regular basis is essential to maintaining your health and quality of life. Here are a few exercises to get you out of your chair during the day and feeling both stronger and healthier.
1. Standing Glute Extension
Whether you’re on the phone, reading something on your computer, or even just enjoying a free minute or two, this exercise can be done just about anywhere. Stand up on your left foot and turn it out slightly, keeping your right leg straight and off the ground behind you. With your right leg straight, extend the leg back behind you and squeeze your glutes. Bring it back down while maintaining your balance on the left leg. Do 25 to 50 reps for each side, or just set a timer for one minute on each leg.
2. Sumo Squat
Stand with your legs wide and your feet turned out slightly. Bend your knees and sink your hips low into a squat position. Push through your heels and squeeze your inner thighs as you rise up. Keep your core and quadriceps engaged throughout the exercise.
3. Alternating Reverse Lunge
Stand up with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointed forward. Reach your left foot back behind you and bend both knees so that your right thigh is close to being parallel to the ground. Using mostly the strength of your right leg, push through your right heel to stand up. Keep alternating sides at an even pace. Try for two to three minutes at a time.
4. Sit Down Stand Up
Place your desk chair behind you in a position that won’t roll away. Keeping your chest up and your knees behind your toes, sit down far enough that your rear end hovers above the chair. Hold for three to five seconds before you sit down. Stand up and repeat. How many of these can you do in two minutes?
5. Wall Sit
If you have a wall, you have fitness equipment. Lean your back and hips against a flat wall and walk your feet a foot or so forward. Bend your knees until your thighs are almost parallel to the ground, and move so that your knees are over your ankles. Brace your abs in to support your back, and pull your shoulders toward the wall. Set a timer for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and hold this position. Your thighs will be burning in no time.
6. Standing Hip Abduction
Stand with the side of your left hip next to your desk, and balance yourself on your left foot. Feel free to lightly rest your left fingertips on the desk. Bend your right knee at a 90-degree angle. From there, raise your bent right knee out to the right and squeeze your outer thigh and glute. Slowly bring your leg back in. Lift out and in 25 to 50 times on each leg.
It can be easy to get side tracked when the responsibilities of work, school, and life pile up. Issues brought on by illness, fatigue, body aches, and weight gain will only add to those stressors. Keep to regular workouts at the gym when you can, but it’s also important to stay on top of light activity by walking, standing, and doing exercises like these leg moves throughout your day. Don’t let your health fall to the end of your to-do list. You are the most important item on it.