After a long day of sitting at your desk, it can seem daunting to have to go to a workout class instead of finally making your way home. But staying active is important for your mind and body, especially if you're feeling stiff. There are a number of
exercises for sitting down all day that can not only ensure you get in some physical activity, but they can help stretch out those muscles that need a little TLC after so much time at your desk.
"Our bodies were made to move and in order to truly care for them, you must move them in the right ways,"
personal trainer Lyuda Bouzinova tells Bustle. "If you have a desk job that requires you to sit for extended periods of time every day, it’s important to be as active as possible when you’re out of the office. Sitting extensively has been linked to ... high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. But even just a moderate amount of exercise will lower all of the above listed risks."
If you're someone who sits all day, you'll want to choose an evening workout that not only gets your blood pumping, but feels therapeutic on your body as well. Here are nine workouts that are best after sitting all day, according to experts.
Spinning (or cycling) is a low-impact way to get your heart rate up while also strengthening and toning your muscles. "This heart-pumping, fully body type of work is fantastic to counter long stretches in an office chair — as long as you get out of the saddle and pump up both the resistance and the intensity," personal trainer Heather L. Tyler tells Bustle. "Don't replicate the sitting by staying seated and going easy." Running is always a good go-to, but if you’ve been sitting all day, it’s particularly beneficial since it will work your entire body and get your heart rate elevated. "Running has many meditative and stress-relieving benefits as well, which could be very helpful after a long day at work," says Bouzinova. "Just make sure you warm up before going too fast because some of the most important muscles for running (glutes, hamstrings, hips) are the ones that get tight from sitting all day. Warm them up, run, and then remember to stretch afterwards."
Just like running, brisk walking can increase blood flow and work those areas of the body that need it. "After sitting longs stretches, it's great to increase blood flow and oxygen circulation by getting the heart pumping," says Tyler. "Even a brisk walk will also provide movement for the lower body. Joints like the hips, lower spine and knees need this movement after sitting long stretches."
Yoga is a great way to get the body moving while alleviating any strain that has been put on your muscles. "When you sit all day, the hip flexors become chronically shortened, which weakens the core and the glute muscles,"
trainer Crystal Widmann tells Bustle. "This compensation pattern is a huge contributor to lower back pain. Additionally, the shoulders begin to round forward due to tight chest muscles and weak upper back muscles. Yoga stretches can help to lengthen the hip flexors and relieve tension in the shoulders and chest."
If you have access to a pool, swimming is a low-impact, full body exercise that provides many benefits. "It increases your heart rate, includes body and water resistance work, muscle elongation, multi-joint activation, balance and coordination, and is easy on any compromised joints," says Tyler.
Prolonged sitting is linked to
a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. "While this might not be something you're worried about now, our bones are constantly remodeling themselves through the addition and subtraction of material," trainer Alli Forsythe tells Bustle. "Too much sitting and not enough activity will cause a loss in bone density. Load your body with some weights at the end of the day to help stay strong and healthy. Running, jumping rope and climbing stairs are also good weight-bearing exercises."
"Pilates is a great workout to do after you’ve been sitting all day because it will strengthen and tone your muscles in a safe and low-intensity way," says Bouzinova. "It will help you improve your posture and strengthen your core muscles, which should help prevent back pain that is all too common from sitting." You can also combine some Pilates with a run or more high intensity moves to give you a combined cardio and strength workout.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT exercises can be a great choice if you're trying to knock out a good workout in a short amount of time. "If you're sitting for 8 hours a day at a job, it's likely that you don't have a lot of time to devote to exercise," says Widmann. "Body-weight HIIT is a great way to get the heart rate up while also performing some strength-based moves targeting the hips and glutes or the shoulders/upper back."
When it comes to working out your core and glutes, barrre is another great option to try after work. "Barre is a low-impact, total body muscular endurance exercise that focuses mainly on building strength in the deep core muscles and the glutes," says Widmann. "Focusing on these areas while exercising is the best way to combat hours spent sitting at a desk."
Get in your physical activity while stretching out those muscles by trying out one of these after-work exercises.