Stop sitting still and do these 8 activities throughout the workday — 3 minutes at a time

Create a habit of getting out of your chair every hour for a few minutes of movement. Stretches relieve stiffness and mitigate the negative health impacts caused by sitting all day long.

(CNN)Over the course of the pandemic, many people who previously commuted to office spaces and job sites joined the at-home workforce. Unfortunately, that additional time at home easily equates to more sedentary time.

Whether you work from home or not, if your normal daily schedule has you sitting still for hours at a time, it's important to make an effort to move throughout your day to avoid the negative health implications of being sedentary, such as an increased risk for cancer. In fact, breaking up long bouts of sitting still with just a little exercise can boost your overall health and fitness.
What if, over the course of an eight-hour day, you got up and moved for three minutes every hour?
    That's 24 minutes of exercise daily. Add another 10 minutes of walking or stair climbing before or after work, and you'd be at 34 minutes daily, or 170 minutes per five-day workweek. That's well over the weekly threshold of 150 minutes, or two-and-a-half hours, recommended by the World Health Organization — without ever setting foot in a gym.
      Read on for a practical plan to integrate three-minute movement intervals into an otherwise sedentary eight-hour workday.

      1. Get up. Sit down. Repeat

      It's important to get up from your chair at least once an hour. The simplest way to start moving is to make the act of getting up out of your chair and sitting back down into an exercise.
        Coaches and trainers call this a box squat. From standing in front of your chair, slowly sit down, making contact with the seat without putting your full weight on it. Then drive through your feet, legs and hips to stand back up. Repeat this movement, at your own pace, for the full three minutes.
        If you're feeling up to it, after a minute or two, you can progress to body-weight squats without the chair. If your chair has wheels, be sure to lock them before performing box squats.

        2. Get your heart pumping

        Your body is designed to move through three planes of motion: sagittal (front to back), transverse (rotating) and frontal (side to side) so it's important to exercise in all of them. Think about it: While sitting at a desk, you're not doing very much side-to-side movement. Everything tends to be right in front of you.
        Jumping jacks are a simple yet effective side-to-side movement that gets your heart pumping. That said, I'm not recommending you hop out of your chair every hour and immediately start doing jumping jacks.
        To avoid the potential for injury after prolonged sitting, first prepare your body for any type of higher-impact activity. Prep time counts toward your three minutes, so spend a minute doing some side bends, lateral lunges and jogging in place before moving into jumping jacks. If jumping is too high-impact for you, modify with alternating side steps rather than jumps.

        3. Move your hands to relieve tension

        Ever consider that the tension in your hands from all that typing might be contributing to the tension in your shoulders?
        Muscles work in chains, so tension can creep up and down your body. When you're tight or immobile in one area, other muscles have to compensate to help you move. Those muscles then become understandably overworked and tight, setting off a chain reaction of muscular compensation and chronic tension.
        To perform hand exercises, focus on one hand at a time. Rest the elbow of the hand you're exercising on your desk to stabilize it. Make a tight fist and then open your hand and spread your fingers as wide as possible. Repeat five times.
        Then make a fist and slowly circle your wrist in one direction five times. Repeat in the opposite direction. Open your hand and use your opposite hand to gently press your fingers back to stretch the inside of your wrist and hand. Hold for three breaths. Repeat pressing your hand forward to stretch the back of your hand and wrist.