It's hard to find the time (and energy) to work out. And there's something about sitting at a desk day in and day out that makes me feel even less motivated. Sure, I walk to and from the subway and climb my friends' fifth-floor walk-ups, but after nine desk-bound hours (and more snacks than I'd care to admit), it feels impossible to make it to the gym. In fact, a report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine says the benefits of exercise can be stunted if you spent the rest of your day sitting still.
So how can we put in the required amount of work at the office while also achieving and maintaining our wellness goals? I asked that very question to a few fitness experts. Shockingly, their answers were not as daunting as I expected. It is possible to boost your metabolism at your desk, and you don't have to be a workout fiend to do it. Keep reading for your new favorite lazy-girl tips.
"Use it to alert yourself to stand up and move every hour," says conditioning coach Sean Garner from Anatomy at 1220. "Over time, your body adapts to the movement pattern you spend the most time in—so it is important to reset your posture. Stand up, squeeze your shoulder blades back and down, and brace your abs. Be aware of how you are sitting, and make sure you are not shrugging up after long periods of working on the computer."
"In between emails, take just 60 seconds to burn some calories—you don't even have to move from your cubicle," says Derek DeGrazio, a celebrity trainer and the managing partner at Barry's Bootcamp in Miami. "This will work your legs, butt, and core. Just be sure to bend your knees, keeping them parallel to the floor."
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"Check right now: Are your feet sitting flat on the floor? If not, you are doing your ankles a disservice," warns Garner. "Sitting all day with your toes pointed down causes your ankle to become tighter and lack dorsiflexion. That's fancy talk for the ability to flex your toe towards your knee. When this happens, it can affect your ability to move and even cause pain while you are squatting. Keeping your feet flat allows the ankles to stay stretched."
"After you finish your lunch, take a brisk walk for five to 30 minutes (depending on your schedule)," says Garner. "Not only will this help you to move more throughout the day, but it will also aid in digestion and boost your energy."
"Long periods of sitting make your glutes stop firing like they should," explains Garner. "This can lead to multiple issues, but most noticeable is lower-back pain. Get your glutes going, and take the stairs. This is a great way to train your legs and keep those calories burning throughout the day."
"Keeping yourself properly hydrated will not only aid in fat loss, but it will also help to keep your energy levels up from a day of sitting," says Garner. "Get yourself a bottle to track your levels, as you're probably not drinking nearly as much as you thought. This also gives you another reason to get up and move to fill up your bottle throughout the day."
"Grasp lightly to the sides of your chair with both hands, and then lean back slightly until you feel pressure on your abdominals," instructs Christine de Almeida, the master trainer at Julien Farel Restore Salon and Spa. "Raise both of your flexed knees and extend them back and forth. Do four reps of 20 in between meetings."
For more easy-to-follow tips, read about how I completely changed my body in just three months.