Technology has provided many advantages for humans these last several years. Unfortunately, gadgets, electronics and the like are a primary reason for our cultural shift toward a more sedentary lifestyle. As you can probably attest adults, and even children, are now sitting more than ever. Just because we are seated more often does not mean we can’t sneak in a few opportunities to burn extra calories, relieve stress or even tone up some muscles. Try one or two of the following exercises and you may just find that the boost you get leads you to stand and move around more frequently. That is a win-win.
Ideal for: Abs
Let’s face it, crunches aren’t fun and even when we start with the best of intentions we may not make it to the floor. Don’t worry. You can still get great abs sitting right where you are – in a chair. Begin by sitting straight and tall at the end of your seat. Fold your arms genie style. Breathe in as you engage your stomach muscles. Continuing to hold your abs in firmly twist your torso to the right as you exhale. Breathe in and return your upper body to the center. Repeat with a twist to the left taking care to hold your abs tight and your spine straight. Remember to inhale as you engage your stomach muscles and exhale as you twist. Aim for 2 sets of ten, ideally once in front of your computer and again while watching television at least three times each week.
Seated Leg Extensions
Ideal for: hip muscles and thighs
Next to abs, thighs are most often thought of as a very troubling trouble spot. Seated leg extensions can help you tame the trouble by trimming your thighs. Begin by sitting on the edge of your seat. Place your hands on the base of the chair beside your outer thighs. With your spine erect and knees together lift both legs off the floor until they are fully extended from your hips. Flex your feet so that your toes are pointed toward the ceiling. Hold for ten seconds before returning feet to the floor. Repeat for 2 sets of ten at least three times each week.
Ideal for: releasing tension in shoulders
Sitting in the same position for prolonged periods often leads to aches and body tension. Take care of yourself with periodic shoulder stretches. As with most seated exercises take care to sit up straight and tall as you begin. Place a hand on each thigh and gently raise your shoulders toward your ears then bring them down and repeat once. Deepen the relaxation by taking three big breaths and rolling your shoulders forward and back. Take a mental break by keeping your awareness on your body and breath as you move.
Ideal for: Biceps and abs
You will need a sturdy chair with arm rests for this exercise. Begin by sitting forward a bit. Place one hand on each arm rest and with knees together lift your feet a few inches from the floor. Next push your body up from the chair until both arms are completely straight. Hold for just a moment. Release the position and repeat for 2 sets of ten.
Even if you can’t make it to the gym you can always make time for exercise. Especially when you are on a call, watching a webinar or even your favorite show at home, seated exercises are good for building muscle, releasing tension and kicking-up your calorie burn a few notches.
Target Trouble Areas
When the topic of trouble areas comes up the most frequent spots mentioned are the abs, thighs, glutes and arms – everyone hates bat wings. Is there any hope of finally taming these trouble areas? Absolutely, target trouble spots just three times each week and you should begin to see results in about four weeks.
Targets abs and arms
On a towel or exercise mat place your body face down on the floor. Lift your body as if doing a push up. The arms should be fully extended with wrists under your shoulders and the body in a straight line. The feet should be on the pads of the toes. Hold the position for 30 seconds to start and increase that time as you build enough strength to hold correct form in the pose. Repeat for one set of five.
Keeping your position on the floor extend your legs fully behind you with toes pointed toward the wall. At the same time extend your arms fully in front of you with palms facing each other. With your spine straight and head aligned with the spine, lift your arms and legs a few inches off the floor (as if in flight). Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds to start. Be sure to keep your abs tucked in tight and back straight and exhale as you lift. Inhale as you return the arms and legs to the floor.
We all hate them but the bottom line is squats work. Start in a standing position with feet shoulder length apart. Keeping your back straight bend your knees as if you are about to sit in a chair. In fact, from the side your body should resemble a chair with your back as erect as the back of the chair, your thighs as the seat of the chair and your legs as the legs of the chair. You may place your hands on your hips or extend your arms fully in front of your body if that helps with balance. Repeat for 2 sets of ten to start. Add an extra challenge with a stability ball. Place the ball on the wall and against the small of your back. Without letting the ball fall lower your body until your knees are aligned with your hips.
One of the best strategies for taming trouble spots is overall reduction or in other words upping the calories you burn to take off a few pounds. Aim for exercise that gets your heart rate up for 30 to 45 minutes three or four times each week. Don’t wait for gym time to start thinking about burning calories. Move more all day by taking the stairs, walking to lunch or even biking to work. Less overall body weight means less weight on your stomach, butt, thighs and arms.
Target trouble areas with a combination of cardio and toning exercises, don’t forget to monitor your diet and make adjustments that support your fitness goals. Stick with your fitness routine and you will soon find that your troubles are over