10 Exercises To Offset Sitting All Day
Whether you’re still working from home or back at the office, you’re likely doing a lot of sitting. Roughly 80 percent of jobs are now considered sedentary, and most involve sitting at a desk for most of the day. Unfortunately, research by the Mayo Clinic has linked excessive sitting with health concerns such as high blood pressure, obesity, and higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Of course, just because you have a desk job doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get cancer, but prolonged sitting has other negative effects on your body as well.
Our bodies weren’t meant to be kept sitting for so long. Sitting for long periods of time can contribute to poor posture, tight or overworked muscles, poor body alignment, aches, and limited flexibility. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to prevent and even undo the damage.
Exercises that strengthen the back of your body (back, glutes, and hamstrings) and stretch the front muscles (such as your hip flexors, pelvis, and chest) can help reverse some of the negative effects of sitting all day. We’ve compiled some exercises that are designed to offset the damage from long periods of sitting. Adding these exercises into your regular workout will counteract the tightness that comes with sitting, and strengthen the muscles that help with good posture.
1. Lateral Bound
Lateral bounds, also known as the speed skater, works the side of the body to improve stability and coordination.
How to do it: Start by standing on one leg with your knee slightly bent and your hips lowered. Bound sideways to land lightly on the opposite foot, and repeat side to side, as if you are ice skating. Make sure you completely settle into your landing before hopping to the opposite side. We recommend 10 to 20 reps per side.
2. Single Leg Bridges
Single leg bridge is a great exercise that engages your glutes, core, and hamstrings all at once.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor about a foot away from your butt. Rest your arms at your sides. Lift one leg in the air, keeping your foot flexed. With the opposite foot still flat on the floor, push up to lift your glutes, hip, and back off the ground. Slowly lower back down, keeping your leg in the air. Repeat this for about 12 reps before switching legs.
3. Kettlebell Deadlift
Deadlifts strengthen your posterior muscles like your glutes, hamstrings, and core to help improve posture.
How to do it: Stand with a kettlebell on the floor between your legs. Keeping your back flat at all times, hinge at the hips to push your butt back and slightly bend your knees to pick up the kettlebell. Straighten your legs as you pull the kettlebell up to hip level and lock your hips. Slowly lower the kettlebell back down toward the floor with the same hip-hinge motion, and repeat. We suggest doing 15 reps.
4. Goblet Squat
When we sit for an extended amount of time, our hips get tight because they are in a shortened position. Squats get us to sit back in our hips further than the range of motion we typically get from just sitting. This exercise is good for you glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core muscles.
How to do it: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart. Hold a kettlebell with both hands at chest level. Squat down by bending your knees and hips to lower your butt toward the ground. Go as low as you can, then push up through your heels to stand back up. Don’t let your knees go past your ankles. We recommend 15 reps.
5. Regular Squat
If you don’t have a kettlebell for the goblet squat, you can still workout your muscles with a regular squat.
How to do it: Stand with your feet hip width apart. With you core engaged, lower your hips down and back as if you were going to sit in a chair. Push down into your heels to return to a standing position. Focus on squeezing your glutes and keeping your back flat. Do this for 10 to 12 reps.
6. Chair Dip
The chair dip is not only a great way to workout your triceps, it’s an easy exercise you can even do at your desk when you need a quick break. Make sure you use a chair that doesn’t roll away!
How to do it: Start by sitting at the very front edge of your chair with your legs extended in front of you. Place your hands on either side of your hips, and grasp the chair. Using your core and your arms, raise your body off the chair, and then lower your butt down towards the floor. Then use your arms and core to push yourself back up. Make sure you are raising and lowering your entire body rather than just moving your hips up and down. Repeat this exercise 15 times.
7. Push Up
A standard push-up is a simple but efficient upper-body workout. To make the most of this exercise, focus on keeping your body in a straight line.
How to do it: Start with your hands and feet on the ground, with your hands placed on the floor directly below your shoulders. Lower your body toward the floor, then push your hands against the floor to lift your body back up. Again, try to keep your back in a straight line. We suggest 8 to 10 reps.
8. Spiderman Push-Up
This variation on the push-up now adds the challenge of keeping your hips from sinking, as well as rotating, which adds an increased demand on your core and obliques.
How to do it: Begin just like you would a normal push-up, but on the way down, raise your foot a few inches off the ground and bring your knee up toward your arm on the same side. Place your foot back to the starting position as you push back up to the top. The next time you lower, repeat on the other side with the opposite leg. We recommend 10 to 12 reps per leg.
9. Mountain Climber
Exercises with explosive movements are a good way to get your heart rate up. Mountain climbers require your muscles to work quickly, creating a higher demand for blood flow and oxygen, which increases the cardiovascular response.
How to do it: From a push-up position, bring one knee toward your elbow. Replace your foot back down and raise the opposite knee toward the opposite elbow. Repeat side to side as quickly as possible while keeping your core engaged and your hips straight. Try doing 20 to 30 reps per side.
Planks work the whole body, especially the core muscles. Planks help strengthen the core and improve pelvic orientation.
How to do it: Get down on all fours with your toes on the ground shoulder-width apart. Place your forearms flat on the floor with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Engage your core, squeezing your thighs and butt to keep your body in a straight line. Hold for 30 seconds.