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Sit at your own risk: Make office your mini-gym (Lifestyle Feature)
By Natalia Ningthoujam
New Delhi, Feb 5: Be it the Metro, car, bike or workplace, most office-goers tend to sit at one spot at a stretch every day at the cost of their health. So how about taking a little time out to exercise at your workplace every now and then?
A survey done by Qi Spine Clinic in 2014 shows that 57 percent of professionals in office jobs are affected by visible symptoms of sedentary workplace behaviour. Experts agree and suggest that by taking breaks to stretch or to run on the spot, people can work towards a healthier lifestyle.
"Desk work puts a huge mental and physical stress on our bodies, especially on our lower back, leading to low back pain," Garima Anandani, chief spine specialist at Qi Spine Clinic, told Bollywood Country.
"The combination of high stress at jobs (which puts people at greater risk for habits such as smoking), sitting for long periods (sitting for over two hours at a stretch is considered a long period) at the desk in poor posture, and lack of physical activity, puts us at greater risk for low back pain," she added.
Stressing the importance of an active lifestyle, Ibrahim Khan, master trainer at Talwalkars gym, said: "A sitting job would lead to lower back pain and spondylosis. A side effect of not working out would be slowing down of Basal Metabolic Rate (the rate at which we burn our calories), and weight gain."
Leading holistic health guru Mickey Mehta has some easy-to-follow solutions.
"Use the staircase at least three times a day. Walk from your house or office to the bus stand. After every two hours, get up from the chair and take a deep breath and stretch backwards. Then breathe out and come and touch your toes," he said.
"Twisting will also help. Hip rotation clockwise and anticlockwise is good too," he added.
Another simple way to workout in office is to run on the spot, suggests Neeraj Mehta, director of Growth For Fitness Instructors Fitness Academy.
"You can do that for 30 seconds or a minute. Then do a little bit of stretching," he said.
Anandani is also in favour of stretching.
"For the benefit of the back and neck, stretch from head to toe, beginning with the neck. Slowly tilt your head towards your shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds. Do alternate sides. Next loosen up your shoulders. Roll both shoulders forward in a circular motion then backward. Repeat 10 times," she said.
Tightening stomach muscles at work is also possible!
"To work your abdominal muscles, hold your stomach for a few seconds when breathing in, then release when breathing out.
"If possible, get some fresh air in your lungs by taking a walk outside," master trainer Aminder Singh at Anytime Fitness, told Bollywood Country.
For your hips, try kicking…in the air!
"Leg kick front is good for hips. Kick front in a controlled way, do 10 counts for each leg. Another one is side kick. Kick sideways in a controlled way, do 10 counts for each leg," said Khan.
While taking the staircase is a must to keep the legs strong, Singh also suggests to sit upright on your chair and straighten one leg out in front of you.
Your hands should rest on the chair. Hold the position for three to five seconds. Repeat it between 12 and 20 times, then switch to the other leg, he said.
And just in case you don’t want bingo wings, don’t forget to keep your arms fit.
"Stand up and place your hands (each about a shoulder width away from your body) on the desk, and twist them in so they point towards your body then lean forward.
"Then push your shoulders and elbows closer to the desk. Repeat it five times," said Singh.
Thanks to computers, office work also strains the eyes, so you need to exercise to strengthen them too.
"Gaze at a distant object for 15 to 30 seconds, then relax eyes," said Neeraj Mehta.
Now stop sitting and reading, get set going towards a fitter and more active you.
(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at [email protected] )