Most of us lead very busy, fast-paced lives crammed with family, professional, and social obligations, yet we remain largely sedentary according to recent research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Whether it’s sitting down at work for extended periods of time, or sitting in a car shuttling from one activity to the next, we are sitting still. A lot.
Though it has long been proven regular exercise and physical activity are highly beneficial to your health, including the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, and some kinds of cancers, it can be challenging to fit into a hectic schedule.
So what can you do? Here are five simple exercises to maximize your seat time. Every time burst of activity counts, and these can go a long way in promoting circulation and improving muscle tone:
1. Isometric Leg Extensions
Start with the leg at a 90-degree angle, extend it until straight, then squeeze and hold the leg extended for ten seconds. Slowly lower the leg to starting position, and repeat up to ten times with each leg.
2. Isometric Adductor (muscles surrounding hips and thighs) Hold
Begin with both legs together and bend at a 90-degree angle. Then squeeze legs together, extend them out, and hold for ten seconds. Release and repeat for 10 to 15 reps. (For extra resistance, perform this exercise with a balled-up towel, or any soft object that can be squeezed between the legs.)
3. External Shoulder Rotation
Bend both arm at your side to a 90-degree angle. Alternating arms, rotate your shoulder but keep your elbow planted into your side for resistance. Perform ten reps with each arm.
4. Oblique Twists
Sit up straight, and engage your abdominal/core muscles by crossing and then raising your arms in front of you. Rotate at the waist from right to left to complete one repetition. Work up to at least 20 reps at a time.
5. Pelvic Tilt
Hold your back straight against a chair or wall, and rotate the pelvis back, tucking it under and releasing tension in the lower back while tightening the abdominal muscles. Next tilt the pelvis forward and repeat. Hold each position for three seconds, and do this ten times.