The majority of people in Britain these days work in sedentary office jobs that involve little or no physical activity. However there are exercises you can do while sitting down – after all, our bodies are always using up calories, and the key to weight loss is maximising that calorie burn in any situation!
You could combine the following to provide a mini-workout that will get the circulation and heart going, burn calories and give your metabolic rate a boost. This will also help you stay alert at work.
- Calf raises – While in a seated position, lift up onto your toes as high as your range of motion will allow, and then bring your heels back down to the floor. Make sure the whole movement takes at least 4 seconds to complete – so don't go too fast! Repeat 15-20 times. This exercise works the back of the lower leg and helps prevent tissue retention around the ankles.
- Chair squats – This is a fantastic exercise that works all of the lower legs, hips and buttocks. It simply involves you going from a standing to seated position on the chair for 15 repetitions, under control, and without rest. It may earn you a few stares from around the office but is well worth it!
As you stand up, push through your heels and squeeze your buttocks as tight as you can until you are fully standing. Then do the same on the way down, but be warned – it's not as easy!
- Seated shoulder press – From a seated position take your arms up so that your hands are in line with your ears and your palms face forwards (elbows should be bent at 90 degrees). Extend your arms up above your head (be careful not to lock out the elbow) and then lower arms back to ear level. Repeat 15-20 times. For extra resistance during the movement hold two objects of a similar weight. This exercise tones the shoulder and tricep areas as well as aiding upper body circulation. Make sure you draw your tummy muscles in as you do this exercise to protect the lower back.
These three exercises can be done in a circuit with as much rest as you required between them. Alternatively do them with very little rest to make it a more intense workout! You should try to repeat the whole circuit (all 3 exercises) 3-5 times. This workout should provide an opportunity to exercise and energise your body while sitting through the long hours at work. Try it and see!
Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.