It’s not like you have the time to run to the gym at lunch, change, exercise, shower and get back to your desk.
Yet, it isn’t healthy to spend an average of 9.3 hours a day sitting at a desk. In fact, according to Nilofer Merchant of the Harvard Business Review, after an hour of sitting, fat-burning enzymes in the body decrease by 90 percent, the body metabolism slows, blood pools in the legs, and pressure builds at the spine.
That’s where micro exercises come in and, according to one study, doing simple, quick moves at the desk can help you stave of illness and build strength.
Conducted in Denmark, the study surveyed 70,000 workers who had had 30-day illnesses during the previous 12 months. Researchers found that nearly 13 percent of these long-term absences could have been prevented using micro exercise.
The study found that 10 to 15 minutes of micro exercises with resistance bands three times a week also led to improved feelings of vitality and even better teamwork.
Although the study used elastic bands, you don’t need the bands to do micro exercises.
Here are some easy ways the keep and increase strength at your desk:
Calf raises: With feet flat on the floor, raise your feet to the toes. Do 50 reps. Too easy? Do it standing.
Ab tucks: Sit up straight. Pull abs to the spine, hold. Do 25 reps.
Glute squeezes: Sit up straight. Squeeze glutes. 25 reps.
Lower ab contractions: Sit straight, lift both legs off seat. Lower feet just above the floor. Hold. Repeat.
Press arms: Sit in a non-rolling chair that has arm rests. Using arm rests, push yourself up with your hands to try to float above the chair. Try to get your arms straight. Then slowly lower yourself back down.
Leg extensions: On a non-rolling chair, point your toes up and extend your legs out straight. Hold for five to 10 seconds to stretch calves and hamstrings. Repeat.
One super-micro move: Try tapping alternative toes as you work.