You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again – sitting down for long periods is bad for your health. Very bad, many say. And in short, well, it is. Long periods of sitting impact your body’s metabolism, increasing levels of unhealthier fats while causing good cholesterol to dip.
But there are ways you can combat the negative effects of sitting down, even if, like most of us, you spend half your day at a desk. According to a study by the World Health Organisation in 2020, you need at least 40 minutes of daily vigorous exercise to offset the damage of sitting all day. Any increase in physical activity is beneficial – so let’s stand up, take notice and get going, shall we?
4 EXERCISES TO OFFSET SITTING ALL DAY
1 – The Deep Squat
How it helps: If you’re stiff from sitting, this exercise will soon show you the current state of your body, improving your stability and mobility. Aim for a few minutes at first, then gradually spend longer in this position as you progress.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Place your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Keep your spine neutral.
- With your body tight, breathe in and bend at your hips as you push your buttocks back. Your knees should bend just after your hips move back.
- With your chest and shoulders raised, squat further down so that your hip joint is lower than your knees.
- Once you reach the deep squat position, drive through your heels and breathe out. Push through your knees and glutes to make your way back to the starting position.
2 – Standing Torso Side Stretch
How it helps: Standing a little taller can do a world of good to a posture that’s used to being slumped over a desk. This exercise will stretch out your whole upper body, so you feel taller and looser.
- Begin standing with your feet together, arms reaching straight up over your head.
- Clasp your hands together and entwine your fingers, your index fingers pointing upwards.
- Inhale as you stretch up as far as you can.
- Breathe out and bend your upper body and arms to the right. Hold for five relaxed breaths.
- Move back to the centre with control, then repeat on the other side.
3 – Donkey kicks
How it helps: Focusing on your glutes, hips, and abdominals, this exercise is a brilliant all-around toner to offset sitting all day. Plus, it’s great fun too – we promise.
- Begin on all fours with your hands and feet on the floor, about shoulder-width apart.
- Kick your right leg back and upwards, as high as you can without over-straining.
- Bring your right leg to the floor and repeat the action with your left leg.
- Alternate on both sides for three sets of 12 reps.
4 – Tuck-jump burpee
How it helps: This one is way more explosive than the previous exercises, but it’s a fantastic way to build power, posture, and balance while decreasing risks associated with sitting all day. We know you love a challenge – go for it!
- Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms by your sides.
- Bend your knees and place your hands on the floor.
- Kick your legs out as you drop your body close to the floor, elbows bent.
- Push up with your arms and spring your legs up to reach them.
- Immediately jump upwards in one explosive movement, bringing your knees to your chest. Tap your knees with your arms.
- As you land, slightly bend your knees to prevent injury.
- Once in standing position, repeat for 10 reps.
We’re supposed to move! Find out how to reduce the risks associated with sedentary lifestyles, with more day-to-day habits you can implement to offset sitting all day here.