May 22, 2009

How to be Active in Your Chair!

By Reem Daffa
Graduate Student, SDSU School of Public Health

Do you have a problem losing weight? The problem could be your job. Of course we do not mean the work itself, but rather your eating and exercise habits at the office. Go ahead and ask yourself - do you sit in traffic for an hour to arrive at work only to spend the next 9 hours sitting at your desk? If you answered yes, then the solution is simple.

Here is a mini workout you can do in the privacy of your own office. The only thing you need for this workout is a CHAIR. Each of the activities can be done all at once or can be split up and done individually throughout the day.

First: Stretches

§ Wrist Stretch: Extend one arm in front with your palm up and grab your fingers with your other hand. Gently pull your hand down to stretch your forearm. Repeat with your other arm.

§ Wrist & Forearm: Press your hands together in front of your chest, elbows bent and parallel to the floor. Gently bend your wrists to the right and left.

§ Back Twist: Sit upright in your chair and place your left arm behind your left hip. Twist to the left and hold and repeat on the other side.

Second: Leg, hips, and thigh extensions.

§ Leg Extension: Sit in your chair, with your abdominal muscles sucked in. Extend your left leg until it is level with your hip. Hold for 2 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

§ Hip Flexion: Sitting in your chair, lift your left foot off the floor a few inches, with your knee bent. Hold 2 seconds and repeat on the other side.

§ Inner Thigh: Place a full water bottle between your knees and, keeping you abs in, squeeze bottle gently. Repeat.

Third: Chair Squat and Tricep Dips

§ Chair Squat: Periodically while sitting, lift your bottom off the seat and hover over your chair for 2-3 seconds. The chair will be very useful in making sure that you maintain good form while squatting. Make sure that your knees never go past your toes. Stand up and repeat.

§ Dips: Make sure your chair is stable and place your hands on your hips. Move your hips in front of your chair and bend your elbows, making sure your shoulders are retracted. Lower your body until your elbows are at 90 degrees. Repeat.

By doing these exercises throughout your workday you may experience any of the following benefits: improved posture; more energy; increased strength; increased balance; improved mood; decreased stress levels; and decreased levels of pain in the head, neck and low back. And remember that a well-balanced diet, in addition to your exercise routine, will help you maximize your weight loss results.


This public health message is brought to you by SDPRC/Familias Sanas y Activas. For more info on our free physical activity programs in South Bay, please contact Sara Solaimani at 619-594-2965.

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