According to Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion, a body in motion tends to stay in motion unless an external force is applied to it. That external force is often your desk chair.
Recent studies have shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time not only undoes the benefits of a daily run, but it can also lead to muscle imbalances similar to those often blamed on running, such as tight hamstrings, low back pain, IT band syndrome and runner’s knee. Not to mention, staying on your tush increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
But that doesn’t mean you’re a lost cause if you have a desk job. The solution comes in finding ways to incorporate consistent movement throughout the day. This works to rejuvenate you mentally and physically.
When it’s 3 p.m. and you crave a candy bar, what your body really wants is some blood flow. Try some of the following office-friendly, no-sweat movements to feel sharp throughout the day.
Related: 5 Essential Stretches
What You’ll Need
Keep these items stashed at your desk so muscles are loose and ready for a run.
STX Lacrosse Ball
The firmness of a lacrosse ball hurts so good for trigger-point work. You can also roll your feet on it while sitting at a desk.
PB Elite Molded Foam Roller
At three feet long and six inches round, this high-density foam roller works for full-body self-massage.
BackJoy Posture Plus
The portable nature of this device helps you reach optimal posture wherever you sit.
A girl can dream…Bellicon Classic Rebounder
Use this to take a jumping jog break—even a minute of bouncing gets blood pumping and stops an afternoon slump before it starts. Borden, who says, “It would be my fantasy to have one in every office in the world!” suggests co-workers go in together to buy one for the office common area or break room.
If you’re at your desk…
This is the best way to work on a six-pack at the office, plus it will make you feel like a kid again. Find a swivel chair (ideally yours, not your supervisor’s). Sit upright with knees together and feet just off the floor. Hold the edge of the desk and, while engaging your core, use the chair to swivel from side to side.
Go back and forth 15 times.
Related: Best Abs Ever In 8 Exercises
Seated Leg Raise
Your quadriceps will be ready to run when you strengthen them throughout the day. While seated (check for good posture) with hands on the chair, slowly extend one leg in front of you. Hold for two seconds before slowly lowering your leg back to the floor.
Alternate until you reach 15 raises per leg. To increase the challenge, raise both legs at once.
Make squats at work a daily ritual! To tone your booty, stand in front of your chair with feet hip-width apart. Squat toward the chair, but stop just before you touch. As you stand up, remember to keep knees and ankles in line and weight in your heels throughout the movement.
Work toward three sets of 10 repetitions.
Related: This Strength Workout Can Be Done Anywhere
If you find an empty conference room…
For an instant tension tamer, Borden recommends putting a lacrosse ball on the wall and leaning against it with your shoulders. Use body weight to control the pressure as you rub back and forth against the ball to loosen shoulders, back, rear deltoids and trapezius muscles.
Upper Back Stretch
Put a foam roller on the ground and lie face up with it horizontally under your shoulders. Inter-lock your fingers to cradle your head, engage your core and lift hips off the floor. Slowly roll your body back and forth over the roller, going from the top to the bottom of your shoulder blades. This will relax your upper back and help keep your arms in a natural position when you run.
Repeat 10 times.
Related: The Basics Of Foam Rolling
Chest and Shoulder Stretch
To open chest and shoulders after slouching at a computer, put a foam roller on the ground and lie on it lengthwise (spine on the roller) with palms facing up. Inhale through your nose for a count of four and exhale through your mouth for a count of eight.
Stay in position for eight deep belly breaths.
Quad Relief to Activate Gluteus
Lie face down with a foam roller perpendicular under your thighs. Prop yourself on your forearms and extend legs back in a straight line. Crawl forward so that the foam roller is just above your knee-caps with toes barely touching the floor. Roll back to start.
Do three sets of 10—one with toes pointed down, one with toes pointed in and one with toes pointed out.
Related: 5 Foam Rolling Moves For Lower Body