Because sitting down all day in the office negates your workout by canceling out 8 percent of what you gain from vigorous exercise (or 16 percent from moderate exercise), we're all advised to move every now and then. Trips to the restroom are the bare minimum, since you might only have five a day.
You'll need to stretch a lot more than you get from walking. Certified yoga instructor Linda Steinberg shares with Harvard Business Review some exercises you can do on your desk without being embarrassed.
1. Shoulder rolls
- Sit straight and lift your right shoulder. Slowly roll your shoulder around and back. Then do the same for the left shoulder.
- Alternate right and left shoulder rolls for three more times.
- Lift both shoulders up to your ears, then hold for two seconds. Release them by slowly rolling your shoulders around and back. Repeat five times.
2. Open chest stretch
- Sit near the edge of your seat, and interlace your fingers behind you. Make sure your palms are together and facing your back.
- Lean forward slightly with your back straight as you lift your arms to stretch your chest.
- Inhale slowly to lift your chest.
- Exhale and relax your shoulders.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 breaths, then release your hands and return them to your sides.
3. Chair twist
- Sit upright near the edge of the chair, and turn your thighs toward the right side of the chair so you are sitting diagonally. (If there's an armrest, bring your thighs as close to it as you can.)
- Move your arm to the back of the chair by twisting to your left. Try to hold the back of the chair with your right hand. With your left hand, hold your right knee or the armrest.
- Breathe deeply.
- Twist to the right with your right hand still at the back of the chair to further stretch your body.
- Hold the pose for 10 to 15 breaths.
- Return to the center, then repeat on your left side.
Linda reminds us to "Breathe deeply throughout the poses because sending oxygen to your muscles allows them to relax."
For more exercises you can do, visit Harvard Business Review.
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