As someone who uses a computer all day to work, I'm constantly trying to find ways to be active while sitting. Sitting too much each day can lead to serious health issues. While I do get up and move around regularly, adding in some creative ways to be active while sitting helps keep me energized between breaks. Luckily, these activities are so simple anyone can do them multiple times daily.
1. Sit on the Edge of Your Seat
One of the easiest ways to be active while sitting is to change how you sit. When we sit back, we usually hunch our shoulders and back. Instead, spend some time sitting on the edge of your chair. Straighten your back and shoulders, hang your arms by your sides and spread your feet. It completely changes your posture and gives your muscles a break from the standard sitting position.
2. Roll the Feet
This activity can be done one of two ways. First, lift your feet about 2-3 inches off the floor and rotate your feet at the ankle. If possible, add in a small massage ball and roll your feet on the ball several times a day to ease any pressure in your feet while improving circulation. Try to roll your feet once every hour. You'll notice improvement in how your feet and legs feel.
3. Lean Back
Your back often takes the brunt of the pain from sitting all day. Give it a break by leaning back whenever you start to feel stiff. Either stand or sit on the edge of your seat. Place your hands against your lower back and arch back as far as you comfortably can. Usually doing this a few times a day keeps my back from hurting. Just remember not to over extend or you could end up sore the next day.
4. Tighten Your Cheeks
Your cheeks support you all day long while sitting in your chair. They definitely need a little activity. Start by sitting up straight and place your feet flat on the ground. If your chair is adjusted high, place your feet on a foot rest. Tighten cheeks and hold for 10 seconds. Do at least 10 reps once or twice every day. Not only will you feel less stiffness, but you'll get tighter glutes at the same time.
5. Do Arm Circles
While you may think your arms are fine, they likely do the same repetitive activity all day long. In my case, I'm always typing which leaves my arms and wrists feeling stiff unless I change up my activity. Arm circles are the perfect solution. Lift your arms to either side or in front of you if someone's near you. Make at least 20 small circles both clockwise and counterclockwise. I also recommend doing the same with your wrists.
6. Tilt Your Pelvis
This is one of my favorites since it works the abs and it makes my back and bottom feel great throughout the day. Sit near the middle of your chair with your back straight. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your hands on your desk or the armrests. Slowly arch the lower back, which will make your butt stick out slightly. Use your abs to slowly pull your hips under your stomach. Hold for several seconds and then repeat at least 10 times, several times a day.
7. Lift Your Legs
Between this exercise and the foot rolls, your legs will feel great all day. Start by sitting straight in your seat. Lift one leg until it's parallel with your seat. Hold the position for 10 seconds and then switch legs. Do at least 10 for each leg twice daily. For even more activity, lift your leg until your thigh comes off the seat.
8. Rock Your Feet
This exercise mimics part of the motion of using a stepper, but without needing a stepper under your desk. Sit with your feet flat on the floor. Push your feet onto your toes and push down slightly until you feel your calves tighten. Rock your foot back to your heels, keeping your calves tight. Repeat for up to five minutes at least twice a day.
9. Squeeze a Hand Gripper
Carpal tunnel is one of the most common issues that comes from sitting and working at a computer all day. Even if you're using a tablet, smartphone or touchscreen, it's still an issue. Invest in an adjustable hand gripper. Start with a lower resistance and squeeze the gripper with one hand at least 10 times an hour for each hand. This will help both your hands and arms.
Take every chance you can to get up and walk during the day. When you can't, try these exercises to keep from feeling stiff and sore after a long day at work or school. There's no reason to let sitting prevent you from being healthy. What are some of your favorite sitting activities at school or work?