Recently we reported a terrifying study that sitting for too long is actually killing you, and that the more active you are, the less likely you are to experience complications from prolonged sitting.
Studies show that the average person sits for 7.7 hours a day and sometimes up to 15 hours every day! This sedentary lifestyle comes with a number of health issues built in.
People who sit for prolonged periods every day have the same risk of heart disease as people who smoke cigarettes.
The easiest remedy to all of these issues is to simply stand up. Not that hard, right? Well, it can be if you're stuck sitting at a desk all day and simply can't stand.
Fortunately there are simple yet rigorous exercises that you can do no matter what fitness level you find yourself at. Here are 5 simply chair exercises.
1. The posture check.
This one is so easy you might not think it's even an exercise. All you have to do is sit up straight in your chair. It actually tones a number of muscles!
Place your feet flat on the ground and sit up. This posture helps tone and utilize muscles in your back and core.
Once you're sitting up straight, press your knees together, flex your inner thighs, your buttocks, and bring your bellybutton in toward your spine. Press your shoulders back and keep your neck neutral.
Hold this for 10 seconds and release. Repeat this 10 times every hour.
2. Seated jumping jacks.
Doing seated jumping jacks is simple yet effective. This is a great exercise if your joints are too weak to do normal standing jumping jacks.
Sit at the edge of your chair, do a posture check, and simply begin opening and closing your arms and legs like you would a normal jumping jack.
Try to do these seated jumping jacks as quickly as you can. Do 3 sets of 20 reps as frequently as you can while you're sitting.
Seated jumping jacks get the heart pumping a little bit harder, which is necessary for good cardiovascular health. This exercise can begin to reverse damage caused by sitting.
3. Seated leg extensions.
Your legs contain the largest muscle groups in the body, so doing leg exercises gets you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of calorie expenditure.
Burning more calories than you take in in a day is the only way to lose weight. Seated leg extensions work your thighs, a very large muscle, and also help strengthen your hips and knees.
To do a seated leg extension, sit at the edge of your chair with your arm at your side. You can hold onto the seat of the chair if you need to.
From here, simply extend one of your legs at a time so your leg is parallel to the ground. Your toes should point to the sky, allowing your foot to form a 90 degree angle with your leg.
Hold this to the count of 3 and stop. Repeat this 10 times with each leg. This can be done any time throughout the day.
4. Seated press ups.
This exercise is a little bit more challenging, especially if your arms and shoulders don't get much exercise and are weaker than the rest of your body.
This exercise is best done with a firm chair with arms that won't break off under your body weight.
Sit at the edge of your chair with your arms at your side, hands on the arms of your chair, and feet planted firmly on the ground.
Begin lifting your body up off the chair. Once your arms are fully extended, ease yourself back down. Do this 10 times for 3 sets. Can be repeated throughout the day.
5. Seated elbow curls.
This exercise might seem a little wimpy but once you're done, your arms, chest, shoulders and back will all be burning!
Raise your arms at your side and bend your elbows. Your arms should form two 90 degree angles on either side of your body with your elbows in line with your shoulders. (Your torso should look like a square W)
Bring your elbows in front of you so they touch, then open them back up so they're in that beginning position again. Keep your posture tall for this! When opening your arms back up again, try to make your shoulder blades touch. Pretend that you're crushing a pencil between your shoulder blades. You can take a moment to hold it in this position for extra tension.
Do this at a moderate speed for 60 seconds every hour.