Even if you work out regularly, a single burst of activity doesn't combat the damage done by sitting for eight to nine hours a day. One study found that each hour spent sitting, regardless of time spent exercising, increases your chance of heart disease by 14 percent. The solution: small, frequent breaks that activate your muscles and your metabolism. And while "deskercise" sounds great in theory, unless you work at Lululemon, you're going to get some raised eyebrows if you try doing lunges from your desk to the break room.
That's why we've come up with a full day of exercises and tips to combat the sitting disease. Here, the best workouts you can do at work -- without getting called into HR for curling with your cubicle partner's stapler or stealing paper reams for leg presses.
9 a.m.: Take the Stairs
Three flights of stairs four times a day (entering, lunch and exiting) will burn an extra 60 calories per day. And since U.S. adults gain, on average, about a pound per year, an extra two minutes of stair-walking can help eliminate that.
Plus, every time your heart rate goes up, your body releases chemical endorphins that make you feel happy and calm. That's a better way to start the workday than, say, making awkward small talk with someone in the elevator before you've had your coffee.
10 a.m.: Time to Move
Bonus points if you leave your phone at your desk during your five-minute break. Giving your eyes a break is just as important as getting up every hour. Eyestrain from looking at a computer all day can cause dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches.
11 a.m.: Stretch
Rest your elbow on a table, arm pointing up, wrist straight. Gently bend your wrist forward at a right angle and hold for five seconds. Straighten your wrist. Gently bend it backwards and hold for five seconds. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.
Keeping your arm straight in front with your palm facing down, gently bend your wrist down. Use the opposite hand to press the stretching hand back towards your body and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Straighten your wrist. Gently bend the stretching hand backwards and use the opposite hand to pull the fingers back. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Do three sets with each wrist
Squeeze a rubber ball (or ball your hands into a fist) and hold for five seconds. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.