A recent news report stated that 80% of us spend at least two hours a day sitting at in front of a computer, be it desktop or laptop. A large percentage of the teen and adult populations spend upwards of 5-8 hours! So how does all that time spent in a stationary and postural distorting positions affect your fitness goals?
On the “fitness friend” side of things, many people utilize a myriad of on-line sources to assist their fitness goals in a positive way. Whether exercising to YouTube videos, entering their nutrition into MyFoodDiary, or printing healthy recipes off Pinterest, these are examples of a computer contributing to your fitness success.
However, on the “enemy” side of things, long exposure to computer-posture along with the simple act of being sedentary for extended periods of time definitely bodes badly for your fitness goals. From neck and shoulder strain, to weakness in hips and sciatic nerves not to mention the obvious fact that you’re just not up and moving enough to burn calories and strengthen muscles — all of which sets you up for fitness failure.
So for those of you who cannot (or will not) change their daily quantity of computer-sitting, I propose a compromise. For every hour you sit (or slouch) in front of a computer you must spend five minutes performing a rotation of “isolated-stretches,” “cardio-bursts,” and “muscle wake-ups.”
I suspect many of you are talking to your computer screens right now heatedly informing me that you don’t know what those are! or I can’t get sweaty at my job. Relax, I promise these are easy, relatively light on the sweat index, and the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience of five minutes of your time spent on YOU!
Stand up and run through the following circuit of total body isolated (where you work one muscle group at a time) exercises:
Head rolls: gently roll your head to the right, back, left and front (chin to chest) 5 times, then reverse direction 5 times. Make sure you keep shoulders down and relaxed.
Shoulder shrugs: with arms relaxed at your sides, bring shoulders up to your ears and then roll them back (squeezing shoulder blades together) and then down. Repeat 5 times.
Arm circles: Take your right arm and reach (stretch) back behind you slowly circling the arm up over-head, and then down in front of you – 5 times then reverse direction starting the circle in front of you, up over head, then behind. Repeat for left arm.
Hip Swings: standing with feet wide apart and knees slightly bent, place your hands on your hips and swing hips back and forth to the right then left, then back and front (10 each direction).
Stationary Lunges: step back with your right leg, stretching it out behind you while keeping left knee bent to a right angle (do NOT push knee out over toe). Slowly bounce up and down stretching hips and glutes (butt) 10 times, then switch legs.
Any and all other body parts are great to stretch at your discretion, i.e., feet/ankles, wrists, abs, back, neck, etc. I’ve given you the basic areas that get tight with lots of computer-posture sitting.
5 minutes of any type of rapid-fire, total body cardio-based exercises are what’s recommended here. Examples: jumping jacks, burpees, jump squats, jump lunges, or a mixture of all of them.
MUSCLE WAKE UPS:
These are exercises that utilize only body weight but allow you to wake up a large group of muscles. Recommended amount is 10-25 reps, 3-5 sets. Focus on only one, or mix and match.
Push ups (hands on the floor)
Incline push ups (hands on a desk, bench, or wall)
Triceps Dips (hands on desk, bench, or stationary chair)