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Sitting too much? Try these 10 exercises

By Dr Shreyas Katharani
April 20, 2020 11:10 IST
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These exercises should be done thrice a day for 20 minutes, says Dr Shreyas Katharani.

10 exercises to do at home

Planks are great for your core and abdomen. Photograph: Courtesy

With most of us working from homes and not able to step out, the new lockdown schedule may not be healthy for everyone.

You may have realised that you're not used to sitting for long hours without taking a break.

With the lockdown extended, following this schedule without any physical activity can harm your health and immunity.

There are certain exercises which we can do to stretch our muscles and improve flexibility.

These exercises should be done thrice a day for 20 minutes. It will also help to boost your mood and improve attention in the work you do.

Please note: If you have recently recovered from a surgery, have respiratory problems or experience pain, avoid these exercises or consult your physician or physiotherapist.

1. Deep breathing exercise

Inhale through the nose slowly and hold your breath for a few seconds. Then exhale through the mouth slowly. Repeat this for 10 counts.

This exercise will help improve functioning of your lungs.

2. Shoulder circumduction exercises

Standing up, rotate each of your shoulders for 10 times one by one.

Follow with neck rotations

Rotate your neck clockwise for 10 counts and then anti-clockwise for 10 counts. It should be done slowly without holding your breath.

3. Lateral flexion exercises

Stand with your legs apart. Bend to one side and hold for 3 seconds.

Now bend to the other side and hold for 3 seconds.

20 repetitions should be good to start with.

4. Spot marching

Stand and march on the spot by raising your knees to the waist level  (90 degrees) for a minimum of 30 repetitions.

This can be done in 3 sets of 10 counts, to begin with.

5. Planks

One of the main core exercises.

Lie on the stomach and take the prone position.

Putting your bodyweight on the forearm and toes, rise up and hold this position for 30 seconds to 2 minutes as per your ability.

6. Bridges

Lie down on the back with knees bent.

Raise your hips and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat for 10 counts.

7. Cat and cow back exercise

Use a yoga mat. Go on all fours like a cat /cow.

Arch your back up towards the ceiling like an angry cat for 3 seconds.

Now drop your back and move towards the floor and hold for 3 seconds.

Repeat this for 10 counts. It is very useful for improving spine flexibility.

8. Leg kicking

Stand and move your leg in front of the body and then behind like you are kicking something.

10 front kicks and 10 back kicks to be done alternately.

You can also do side kicks. This helps to stretch all muscles around the hip joint.

9. Wall supported squats

Stand by touching your head, back and buttocks to the wall.

Now move down/squat slowly up to 30 degrees and hold for 1 second and come up slowly.

Breathe normally. Don't hold your breath. Repeat for 10 times.

This helps in co-contraction of quadriceps and hamstrings.

10. Lunges

Stand straight with feet apart. Take a step forward with the right leg.

Shift your weight in front and the heel will touch the floor first.

Lower the body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Now press into the right heel and come back to starting position.

Repeat on the other side. This exercise helps to exercise your hips and thigh muscles along with core activation.

Dr Shreyas Katharani is head of physiotherapy department at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai. He can be contacted on

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Dr Shreyas Katharani