Sitting all day is not ideal for your health — that we know for sure. While there are lots of evening hacks to undo a day of sitting at your desk, it’s even better if you can break up your day of sitting with some desk-side yoga or consistent movement. So what can you do to give yourself a much-needed break from staring at your computer screen? Holly Rilinger, the creator of Lifted (a combo of meditation and HIIT), a Nike master trainer, and a former professional basketball player, says a mini desk-workout using the four moves below will help you feel better and be more productive for the rest of the day. Feel free to use this as an excuse to wear yoga pants to the office.
Need more convincing to get out of your chair and move? “Sitting for hours at a time is hard on our bodies,” Rilinger says. “If you can take just 10 minutes out of your day to move, get your blood flowing, and elevate your heart rate, not only will you have less aches and pains, but you may have more mental clarity for the rest of the day!” Sounds like a pretty great idea to us.
PRE-WORKOUT TWO-MINUTE MEDITATION
Before you get started, Rilinger recommends meditating for two minutes. “Close your eyes and take your focus to your breath. Create a little separation between your work day and the next 10 minutes,” she suggests. If you find your mind wandering, simply let go of whatever you’re thinking about and bring your focus back to your breath. “These two minutes will help you be focused and present for your mini workout!” she adds. Now, you’re ready for the exercises.
QUICK ENERGY-BOOSTING DESK WORKOUT
1. Air Squats: There’s no equipment needed for this move, making it perfect to do anytime, anywhere. “Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Put your weight in your heels and drop your hips behind you. Once your legs are at a 90-degree angle, push through your heels and return to standing position,” explains Rilinger. Do 20 reps at your own pace. If you’re wondering why these are so awesome, it’s because “when you use your legs, you’re essentially working the largest muscles in your body,” according to Rilinger. The bigger the muscles you’re using, the more of a caloric burn you’ll get.
2. Ab Chair-Roller: This exercise is a little trickier, so definitely make sure you have a clear area to do it. If your desk chair has wheels, you can stand on your knees while holding the chair, rolling it away from yourself and then back toward you. Keep your body in a straight line from the top of your head through your hips and all the way to your knees. “Once you feel your core engage, contract your abdominal wall and let that contraction pull the chair back in your direction,” says Rilinger. Go for 10 reps and feel those abs burn!
3. Desk Push-Ups: “Using the edge of your desk, drop your chest to your desk and do a push-up,” she says. This exercise is totally simple, but works your arms, shoulders, and core. “At this angle [rather than on the ground] you can do more reps,” she points out, “and it’s better than getting on the floor at work, right?” Totally. Aim for 20 reps here.
4. Desk Dips: Stand with your back facing your desk and your hands just outside your hips. Grip the edge of the desk with both hands, fingertips outward, and put your weight in your palms. Drop your body until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, then press up and squeeze your triceps. Complete 20 reps, breaking them up into two sets of 10 if needed. Then refill your water bottle and give yourself props for fighting your mid-afternoon slump.
Do you ever do exercises in the middle of the work day? Tell us your faves @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty and Brit + Co, GIF via Brit + Co)