By now, most people know that sitting all day is bad for you. CNN has cited numerous studies finding that sitting for 8 to 12 hours a day increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 90 percent — and is even linked to developing a chronic disease or having a shorter lifespan.
Unfortunately, most people have no choice but to work all day in a cubicle — sitting. Marc Santa Maria, the national group fitness director for Crunch Gyms, noticed that when people aren’t at work, they’re heading to bootcamp-style workout classes that, while beneficial, are also hard on the body.
To give people a way to rehabilitate their bodies, he came up with a class to relieve muscle tension, massaging and restoring the body. “[MOTUS]is a workout, but also feels good for your body,” Santa Maria tells us.
He shared three moves that office slaves can do at work, plus one bonus move to do at home.
Move 1: Bow and Arrow (10 reps per side)
Step 1: Start standing.
Step 2: Step your right leg back and pull your right arm back like you are pulling a bow.
Step 3: Come back to center and repeat on the left side.
“This is an all-purpose workout,” Santa Maria says. “You’re strengthening your lower body by stepping back, but you’re also doing some cardio and getting your blood flowing while strengthening your shoulders, back and triceps.” If you slouch over a desk all day, your shoulders will thank you for this one.
Move 2: Hamstring strengthener (10 reps per side)
Step 1: Start standing and form an X with your arms.
Step 2: Step your left leg back and sweep your arms to the sky. Flex your left toes to the sky.
Step 3: Reach your left hand to your left shin or, if you can, to the floor. Come back to standing and form an X with your arms. Then, step back with your right left and repeat the move for the other side.
“Sitting all day makes your hamstrings really tight and can lead to lower back problems,” Santa Maria says. “Here, you loosen those areas up.”
Move 3: Stars and Planets (10 reps per side)
Step 1: Start in a squat, with your body curled up in a tight ball.
Step 2: Open your arms to the left side, balancing on the left leg.
Step 3: Come back to the starting position. Repeat, opening your arms to the right side and balancing on the right leg.
“The reason why this one is good if you’re sitting at a desk all day is because you’re expanding the body using breath, and breath is key for everything when it comes to really stretching and lengthening,” Santa Maria says. Most people have a bad habit of hunching over when they’re at a computer. This stretch undoes all of that.
Bonus move to do at home: Cross-body stretch
Step 1: Start on your hands and knees.
Step 2: Lift your left arm to the sky and slide it all the way through the space between your right arm and right leg. Hold for a few breaths, feeling the stretch in your shoulders and upper back.
Step 3: Repeat on the other side.
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence