If you are someone who works in the Central Business District area in Singapore, your week is most likely devoted to slumping in an armchair, your shoulders hunched over a keyboard and your eyes transfixed on a computer screen. On busier days, you might find yourself stuck in never-ending meetings, sitting on the same armchair for hours on end. However, the human body is not designed to remain inactive or sedentary for long, let alone sitting on an armchair like Cleopatra for eight to ten hours a day. In fact, the long hours, cumulative stress and deskbound nature of your contemporary office job are literally sucking the life and health out of you.

In essence, the result of prolonged sitting is poor posture, a bad back, reduced metabolism and not to mention, a flatter-looking bum. Sitting yourself down for lengthy periods not only leaves a near-permanent stamp on your bum, but it also highly detrimental to your body. The common aches and strains are the least of your concerns — researchers have found that too much sitting can lead to an early death as you are on track to facing an elevated risk of heart disease, muscular-skeletal disorders, diabetes, obesity and cancer, among others. Moreover, regularly slouching on your chair can also contribute to a pool of chronic, long-term illnesses, such as bursitis and arthritis.

A recent report by Nielsen Singapore indicated that almost 85 per cent of Singaporeans hold jobs that require them to sit all day. Health experts have recommended for these pool of office workers to change their position every eight minutes or grant themselves a moving or stretching of two minutes every hour. While these stretching breaks and techniques have proven to be useful in staving off the negative effects of prolonged sitting, your body still requires some form of exercise to fix and reverse the damage of your unfortunate sedentary work life. Fortunately for you, there are a few simple yet effective exercises that can be executed right by your office desk to get your blood circulation flowing and provide you with a quick perk-up before burying your head back into your pile of work.


Stationary Squats

When your hamstring and glutes are weak, your back carries the slack and takes the toll. One of the ways to ease the pressure off your back is by strengthening your glute and hamstring, and there is no better way to achieve that than with good ol’ squats. Squats effectively work your entire posterior chain, exerting both your lower and upper body parts and thereby, burning calories and shedding off fats at the same time.

The best thing is you only require a foot-length worth of space to properly execute your squat. Start off with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly bend at your knees and hips until you hit a 90-degree angle. At this point, your back should be straight, bum sticking out like Jennifer Lopez and your knees should not go beyond your toes. Pause for at least two seconds before pushing yourself back into an upright position. You should feel your glutes, quads and hamstring all contracting as you push yourself up.

Squats work your entire posterior chain and force both your lower and upper body into exertion. You do not need a barbell with Olympic weights to squat with in order to reap its benefits. All you need is proper form and ample space — execute the movement right and with the proper technique, and your body will be destroying excess fats efficiently within your own office space.


Hip Flexor Stretch

When was the last time you had a good workout which involves working your hip flexor? Possibly never. Forget the workout — some of you probably have never heard of hip flexor before. Hip flexors are the group of muscles surrounding your inner and upper thighs and pelvic region that supports almost every movement you carry out, such as jumping and running. In fact, even standing motionlessly require the right stabilisation and contraction of the hip flexors.

When you are seated behind your desk all day, your hips are constantly flexed and contracted. Over time, the muscles surrounding your hip will tighten and, coupled with a bad sitting posture, may ultimately result in back pain and muscle imbalances. This is why it is imperative for you to stretch out your hip flexor occasionally.

So how do you stretch your hip flexor? We thought you’d never ask. Roll back your comfy armchair, take your four-inch Louboutin heels off and take a knee. You should be in a lunge position, with either your right or left knee on the ground and the other foot forward. Keeping your glutes and abs compact, slowly lean your body forward until you feel the stretch on the hip of your trailing leg. Hold that position for at least twenty seconds before alternating your legs.

If you are someone who enjoys the outdoors over the weekends, strengthening your hip flexors will most definitely help prevent impact injuries in your lower body by fostering proper foot placement.