Recognize the Issue
Sitting for long periods with no break is difficult. Not only do your muscles and joints stiffen up, your powers of concentration can lessen, and you may feel even more tired. There is only so much that another cup of coffee can do. My goal is to bring to your attention the idea that a quick break filled with some form of motion can do a lot to wake you up, make you more alert and less stiff.
Moving may be the last thing you feel like doing when you are in this place as you already may feel grumpy and not want to do anything at all except bemoan your fate!
You can do it!
Take a quick few minutes even when you don’t feel like you have the time. That few minutes might actually help you make up some time by giving you a quick reset that may help you focus and feel more alert and able to complete the task at hand faster. Not only will a little movement help your brain, moving will help that crick in your neck, that low back ache, the tight shoulders and hamstrings and just overall make you less achy.
What to do? Mix it Up!
There are countless full body exercises or stretches you can do but here are a few ideas. Start by going up and down some stairs at a slightly faster than is typical pace. Start with 10 - 20 stairs and add on once you get more used to it. Don’t have stairs? Do a quick march in place raising your knees up and reaching above your head with the alternate arm. Like with any exercise, start slowly and move a little quicker once you are more warmed up. Here are a few ideas to try:
If any exercise in particular fills you with dread, start with that one! We are looking at you, burpees! Remember, they don't like us either! As always do any exercise slowly and carefully and work to feel it. Try a few different ones depending on how long you have. If something doesn't feel right, try something else.
Finally add in a stretch:
What is Your Environment?
Your environment may play a role in what you can do. What if you are in a shared office space and can’t get away? What if you are in an all day conference? What if you are not wearing shoes or clothing which are conducive to larger movements? No worries, it’s time to get sneaky!
If you can, take a quick break and walk to the farthest restroom especially if it's on a different floor. After this quick warm up try these exercises:
Add in a seated stretch or two:
The bottom line is that it does not really matter how you move, what matters is that you get moving! Your body and your brain will appreciate a movement break. And learning to recognize that a movement break will help is key!
Even the American Heart Association has been using a key phrase in some of the their advertising. “Sit less, move more." Studies indicate that prolonged sedentary behavior regardless of overall physical activity can have a negative impact on heart and blood vessel health. Read more here: http://newsroom.heart.org/news/sedentary-time-may-raise-heart-disease-risk-sit-less-move-more
What are some of your favorite “itch to move” exercises? We hope you will share a few with us!