We all know we should exercise on a regular basis. It is recommended that people exercise for at least half an hour three times a week. But for those of us who are working, taking care of families, and earning a degree, this can seem impossible. This is where your multi-tasking skills can come in to play. Why not use study sessions to work out the mind and body? Here are some exercises you can do while literally sitting down:
- Side stretches keep your spine aligned and supple, and shrink your waistline. Raise your arms over your head or put your hands on your hips and lean over side to side as far as you can safely go. Be cautious if your chair has wheels or is unsteady.
- Arm raises increase circulation and help to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Alternate rapidly raising your arms straight over your head, raising them to the sides, and raising them behind you. You will work almost all the muscles in your arms and increase your heart rate.
- Butt crunches are the easiest exercise to do while sitting down. They will also help prevent “butt spreading syndrome” of the hind quarters, caused by sitting for long periods of time on a regular basis. All you need to do is repeatedly tighten up your gluteus maximus muscles and release.
- Leg lifts can be done easily as well- no lying on the floor required. Simply extend your legs straight out in front of you and then lower them to work out the large muscles of the legs. Also, you can work out your calves by raising your legs up onto your toes while sitting and then lowering them. For an even better workout, keep your core muscles tightened while doing leg lifts to tone your abs and strengthen your lower back muscles.
- Cardio is essential to weight loss and maintaining a healthy heart. Think you can’t possibly do cardio while sitting down? Think again! Raise your arms over your head and pump them rapidly for 30 seconds. Then rapidly tap your feet on the floor while sitting, football drill style, for 30 seconds. Alternate a few times to really get your heart pumping. An added bonus is this will amp up your energy, and improves your mood as well, due to the release of endorphins.
- Stretches should be incorporated into your study workout as well. Stretching will relieve tension in tired muscles, ease stress, and restore circulation. Raise your arms over your head as high as you can and hold for 10 seconds. Then alternate raising each arm higher then the other. Next, loll your head to one side so that your ear almost touches your shoulder and then gently push your head a little lower. Repeat on the other side. Then, sit up straight and try to touch your shoulder blades together. Last, bend forward as far as you can while sitting to stretch out those cramped back muscles.
So as you can see, getting in a workout a few times a week is possible. As with any exercise routine, remember to stay hydrated and eat a well balanced, healthy snack or meal afterwards to replenish energy stores and nutrients. If you have any advice on exercises that can be accomplished while studying, please feel free to comment below!
*Always consult your physician before beginning a new exercise routine.
Amy Hinkle, Externship Advisor, Student Success Department, CollegeAmerica-Denver.
Amy began her career at CollegeAmerica as a student in the Medical Specialties program. While attending classes she was an Administrative Assistant in the Deans’ Department until she graduated in 2010. After graduating with an Associate of Occupational Studies in Medical Specialties she returned to CollegeAmerica as a Teacher’s Assistant to the Medical Specialties Dean and the Radiology Department. Soon thereafter she was promoted to the position she currently holds. She plans to return to CollegeAmerica as a student to complete her Bachelor of Healthcare Administration in November 2011.