Stuck at your desk for a conference call that drags on forever? Seize the opportunity to get in mini-workouts to break up your sedentary work day. Butt toners, core strengtheners, ab tighteners—you name it, there’s a desk move designed to strengthen your muscles. Little exercises can help counter the dangers that accompany prolonged sitting. Scientists reveal sitting more than eight hours a day puts us at risk of dangerous chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. They say eight hours sitting is long enough to shorten your life. Make these mini-workouts part of your work day, and add a two-minute walk every two hours for a boost of energy.
- Butt Trimmer
With knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, sit on the edge of your chair. Rest your hands on the chair just outside of your hips and bend your elbows slightly. Push down with your hands while straightening your elbows. You should be sitting up taller, but still seated. Tightly squeeze your knees and glutes together and then release the tension. That’s one rep. Do 30 reps quickly.
- Chair Squat
Stand in front of your chair with your feet slightly wider than hips-width apart. Bend your knees, shift your hips back, and pretend you’re going to take a seat. Keep your weight in your heels and don’t let your knees extend past your toes. Lower down until you’re almost touching the chair and hold for 20 seconds. Stand and rest for 10 seconds, then repeat three more times. Using a chair helps with this squat that tones your butt.
- Knee Swing
Sit on the edge of your chair with hands outside your hips. Bring your knees together and move your legs to the right corner of the chair. Lift your heels. Pull your belly button to your spine and lift your legs under your desk to draw a half circle so your legs land at the left corner of the chair. Keep knees bent and together and your back straight while you do this. Repeat, alternating sides each time, for 20 reps. This workout targets your abs and obliques for a strong core.
- Leg Lift and Twist
Sit on the edge of your chair with arms crossed over your chest. Extend your right leg out straight with your foot on the floor. Tighten your abs and rotate your torso to the right as you lift your right leg to your left knee. Squeeze knees together. Return to start. Do 20 reps. Switch to the opposite side, lifting your left knee and turning to the left. Repeat 20 times. This move tones your quads, inner thighs, and abs.
- Chair Roll
This one is those who sit in wheeled desk chairs. Grab the edge of your desk, lift your legs, and push yourself away as far as you can. Next, pull yourself back in. Repeat. After 20 seconds, put down your feet. Pick up your laptop and raise it up and to the side as you turn your torso. Repeat on the other side to complete one rep.
- Arm Pulse
Hold a light-weight object in your hand and with your elbow by your side, set your arm at a 90-degree angle. Pulse your arm up and down an inch for one minute. Repeat on the other side for one rep. Do two more.
- Seated Oblique Burner
Sit on the edge of your chair with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Exhale while twisting to the left and keeping your spine tall. Hold for one count and then continue turning as far as you can go even further to the left. Hold for one count and then slowly return to start for one rep. Repeat, alternating sides each time, for a total of 20 reps. Your obliques will feel the slow burn.