It is time to rethink our notion of exercise. Most of us wake up sit in our cars on our way to work, sit at our desks for eight plus hours, sit in our cars on our way home, sit down for a typical american dinner, sleep and repeat. If we are lucky we can sneak in a walk at lunch time or a bike ride here or there. The problem with these bouts of exercise are that they are sandwiched with hours of inactivity. The fix for this problem is quite simple. Move more, sit less.
There are so many ways to incorporate more movement in our days. Yes, parking farther away from the entry door to where you are going is one way, but what about once you park yourself at your desk? Try plugging in reminders into your work calendar every hour on the hour that prompt you to move. Here are ten ideas to copy and paste into those time slots:
7:00 am- Stand up stretch your arms over head and then fold forward. Hold this for 12 breaths, then bend your knees and roll up slowly, allowing your head to be the last thing to come up.
8:00 am- Hip stretch-stand on one leg (you can hold onto your desk or a wall for balance) cross one leg over the other thigh just above the knee and sit the hips back until you feel the hip of the leg on top stretching. Hold each side for 6 breaths.
9:00 am- Chest opener- stand with your feet hip distance apart, knees slightly bent, interlace your fingers behind your back and fold forward lifting arms off the spine. Hold for 6-12 breaths.
10:00 am- Neck releaser- sit up as tall as you can in your chair, close your eyes, inhale and lengthen up as tall as you can, as you exhale drop your right ear to your right shoulder. Inhale lift head back to center, exhale drop your left ear to your left shoulder. Repeat 3 times. Do the same thing front to back. Inhale lengthen up, exhale drop your head down to your chest, keeping your chest lifted. Inhale lift your head up, exhale lift your chin up tilting your head back. Repeat three times each way.
11:00 am- Anti rounded shoulders exercise- Simply roll your shoulders back 12 times, breathing deeply as you do this.
12:00 pm- Take a 5-15 min wall around your floor or your building.
1:00 pm- Quad stretch- Standing on one leg and holding a wall or your chair, bend one knee and grab your foot with the same side hand pulling your foot close to your butt. Hold this stretch on each side for 6 breaths.
2:00 pm- Complete 10 reps of each exercise at your desk: squats, desk push ups, desk dips.
3:00 pm- Stand while you work. Try to stand for as much of this hour as you can. If this is not possible for your work take a 1-2 min break and stand with good alignment. Your feet should be shoulder distance apart with the outer edges of your feet parallel. 60% of the weight in your heels and 40% in the pads of your feet. Your legs muscles should be engaged and strong. Heels, knees, hips, shoulders and ears in one line from the side. Take 12 breaths in good alignment.
4:00 pm- Complete 20 jumping jacks, squat jumps, or lunges.
In the end you have accumulated about 20-30 min of movement. These types of movement breaks will increase blood flow to working muscles, give you a mental break, and keep your joints lubricated and active. Try it, you won't be disappointed!