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Top Three Moves to Get Off Your Chair At Work

Work can be a major inhibitor to getting moving. Five million of Australia’s 7.7 million full-time workers put in more than 40 hours of work per week. Not only do a huge number of us feel we don’t have time for physical activity outside of work, many of us are barely moving during our work hours too. Nearly half of employed Australians sit all day at work. We’re facing never-ending deadlines, and since we all want to clock off on time so we can maintain some semblance of work/life balance, we put our bottoms on our chairs, crane in to our computers and hardly move until our work is done.

Sitting still is making us tired. It might sound counterintuitive, but feeling alert and awake is tied to moving around. When you sit still for a long period of time, your body functions slow down until you enter something a little like a ‘sleep’ mode. It’s normal to feel tired when you finally stand up, because your body has to switch modes and start providing you with the energy to move again. No surprise, then, that we reach for the 3pm coffee and sugar to keep us going and then get to the end of the day feeling exhausted. Instead of having the energy to work out, we collapse on the couch to binge-watch our favourite Netflix show.

Many things can go wrong in our bodies when we sit for hours and hours: weak core, tight hip flexors and hamstrings, soft glutes, strained neck, and an inflexible, unsupported spine. We are more susceptible to weight gain as our metabolism slows. Not only are our muscles slacking off when we sit, but our heart also doesn’t have to work as hard, which allows fatty acid to build up and clog our arteries.

But how do we make exercise happen in our jam-packed work day? Isn’t the best strategy to buckle down and work, work, work so you have time to exercise later? If you want your brain to function at its best, you need to keep refilling its tank throughout your day. Along with brain-boosting food, the best fuel comes from movement – and two minutes is all you need to have your body, brain and even your loved ones thanking you. There’s some evidence that regularly standing and walking during the day, even for short amounts of time, can drastically increase your lifespan.

Do this stand up workout at your desk or if you feel self conscious, find a private spot to do them. Even the bathroom can be an option! Better still, encourage your colleagues to join you in getting up and moving. It’s a great way to bring more wellbeing in to your workplace. 

These moves are a great chance to check in with your posture, so ensure your shoulders aren’t slouching forward. Standing with your feet hip-width apart, gently pull in your tummy to engage your core. 1. As you breathe in, raise both heels off the floor at the same time. Raise your arms to the ceiling as you rise up. 2. Then lower your heels and arms. Take about one second to get up and down so you work at a pace that gets your heart pumping.

Stand nice and straight with your shoulders gently pulling back. 1. Step into your right foot, twisting your body around to the right, lifting your left hand by your left shoulder. 2. As you continue to twist around to your right, breathe out and extend that arm out to the right at shoulder height, as if you are pushing something away from you with your hand. Repeat to the left.

If you can’t get away from your workspace for a walk then this is the perfect way to get a little endorphin rush to help you feel good about your tasks ahead. 1. Work through your feet as you walk, taking the ball of your foot to the floor first and then your heel. 2. As you walk, give your arms a big swing like you see the Olympic walkers doing to loosen up tight, hunched shoulders.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms loose by your side. 1. Drop your chin to your chest and take your time rolling down as you breathe slowly so that your arms hang loosely down towards your toes (it doesn’t matter if you can’t touch them). Take a couple of deep breaths here, feeling gravity take hold of your head, neck and shoulders. Go for a few gentle nods and a few gentle head-shakes to loosen up your neck. 2. Breathe in and feel your tummy draw in as you begin to ever-so-slowly roll up.