Lately, we seem to be hearing a lot about the dangers of sitting. Yes, sitting. Email and a million other online tools now allow us to conduct business across the globe from the comfort of our laptops, but the problem is, it's killing us. New research has emerged showing the dangerous long-term effects of sitting, including back problems, organ damage, muscle degeneration and even increased risk of death.
We've become a nation of keyboard-clicking drones, chained to our desks, hunched over our technology of choice, and it's well-documented that a healthy mind and body can be a big advantage in business. So why are we sitting our lives away? While "standing desks" have gained in popularity, there are also some quick-and-easy ways you can work out while working, to not only stave off the damage of sitting for long periods of time, but actually improve your health throughout the workday or even on business trips.
We recently sat down (pun intended) with Nicole Glor, a veteran publicist who works with entrepreneurial companies—and a nationally recognized fitness entrepreneur—to demonstrate her step-by-step guide for staying active amid your hectic office life.
1. Chair Squats
Do: At the top of the hour.
Chair squats help boost circulation and tone your glutes and quads.
Squat so that your butt almost touches the chair, while keeping your weight over your heels, so that your knees are not too far out over your toes.
Then stand back up. Repeat 20 times.
2. Desk Push-Ups
Do: At the bottom of the hour.
Desk push-ups strengthen arms, shoulders and pectorals (chest). Place your hands wide on your desk, with your feet out behind you, so that your body is in a diagonal line from your heels to your hips to your shoulders.
Lower your chest down so it almost touches the desk and your elbows are bent at 90 degrees, lined up over your wrists. Push back up and repeat 20 times.
3. Tricep Chair Dips
Do: For every bathroom break.
Tricep chair dips tone the back of the arms. Use a chair without wheels—or if you have one with wheels, push it against a wall. Sit down and put your hands on the chair next to your hips, knuckles facing up and palms facing down. Straighten your arms to lift your butt off the chair and out about six inches in front of the seat, with your legs straight in front of you.
While balancing on your heels and hands, bend your elbows to 90 degrees so that your backside lowers below the seat. Push back up over the chair by straightening your elbows. Repeat 20 times.
4. Bicep Curls
Do: For each conference call.
When using a fitness band, bicep curls tone the front of the arms and work the opposing muscle to the triceps. Fitness bands are great because they're light and can fold into a drawer. If you don't have one, find something heavy like a trash can, or buy sand weights or barbells.
Stand or sit (but remember, standing is better to get you off that chair) and put the ends of the band, weight or other object in each hand. If using a band, place the middle under your feet.
With palms facing away from you, curl your arms toward your chest by bending your elbows.
Once your hands reach shoulder height, lower your hands and repeat 20 times.
5. Reverse Flies
Do: When you arrive for work, leave for lunch breaks, come back from lunch and before you leave at the end of the day.
When using a fitness band, reverse flies help strengthen your upper back. These are extremely important to fix your posture and get you to stand tall after over-stretching your trapezius and rhomboid muscles all day while hunched over a computer. If using a band, start in the same position as the biceps curls, with arms straight at sides, palms facing in, then bend at the hip with your back flat and your knees only slightly bent.
Lift your elbows to the sky and up behind your back, keeping them bent and squeezing your shoulder blades behind you. Lower the band. Repeat 20 times.
Rod Kurtz is the editor-at-large of OPEN Forum.
Jehangir Irani is a photographer, a video producer , and an avid storyteller. He has produced work for Glamour, Vanity Fair, and a variety of other lifestyle-centric outlets. Jay's love of startups came from producing Venture Studio, a talk show on entrepreneurship that was syndicated on Mashable. Jay has traveled the world and, in his spare time, searches high and low for the perfect hot and sour soup.
Nicole Glor is the founder and president of NikkiFItness. She is a fitness expert, author of The Slimnastics Workout, and the star of 10 fitness DVDs, including the new Slimnastics Stability Ball Workout, Seasonal Affective Disorder Workout, Hard Core Abs, and Fit Travel Workout (all available on Amazon). Glor's workouts have been featured in over 100 national media outlets including The New York Times, Live! With Kelly and Michael, Fox & Friends, GMA Health, Shape, Self, Fitness, and Women's Health. To learn more, visit www.nikkifitness.com.
Photos from top: Shutterstock, Jehangir Irani for OPEN Forum