Body Buzz – Sitting Pretty
by Sasha Kanal
Sitting down doesn’t have to mean being sedentary. Follow these easy moves to feel the benefits and enhance your wellbeing.
Increasingly research reveals that long term sedentary lifestyles could be as bad for our health as smoking. But for those of us who work in an office for 8 hours a day, travelling long journeys by train or car to get there – how can we counter this unavoidable component of modern life? And not forgetting those whose mobility is compromised, for example, the elderly or people with long term chronic health problems. How can more movement and all the benefits this entails be introduced into their everyday routine?
Luckily there is a whole range of useful, easy and safe exercises that can be done either at your desk or from a seated position in a chair that work the entire body. Whilst it’s no substitute for a great cardio workout, some of these exercises can still be good for your heart, help improve strength and flexibility and may even burn a few calories too. After all, every little bit of movement (if done properly) helps towards a healthier and happier self!
For those with limited mobility or who aren’t used to exercising, start by getting your posture right (an effort in itself for many of us), as this is a good foundation for all other moves.
Sit square on the chair with feet firmly on the ground. Tighten your belly by pulling your belly button towards your spine. Lift your ribcage and lengthen your neck by imagining you have a string pulling gently from the top of your head. Breathe deeply from your stomach area.
This is a good basis for the next move – the seated march. Hold your posture and march in place with your backside firmly planted. Swing your opposite arms as you place each foot forward. You could reach higher and higher as you swing both arms and even add a boxing jab to the mix. Seated marching like this for 20 minutes should pump your heart rate to aerobic levels.
The following can be done quietly whilst sitting and without your work colleagues noticing. Try not to look too smug once you’re done or you’ll give the game away!
The Bottom Line – or an isometric glute exercise to tone your behind… Simply squeeze your buttocks and hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat as many times as you can until you tire.
Leg Raises – Seated, straighten one or both legs and hold for 10 seconds. Lower the leg(s) back to the floor without touching it and repeat for 10-15 reps. Loop your briefcase or bag strap around your legs for added weight – et voila!
Let us Pray – For more defined, heavenly arms, sit upright with your feet flat on the floor, bring your palms together in front of your chest in a ‘prayer’ position and push both hands together until you feel your arm muscles contract. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat.
CAUTION: If you are unsure of any new exercise regime please consult your GP before commencing.