Fast Workouts to Reverse the Effects of Sitting

Simple workouts to avoid the negative effects of sitting

Note from Katie: I recently wrote about the negative effects of sitting too much and how this is linked to higher risk of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, obesity and other health problems. Spending less time sitting is part of the solution, but it isn’t always an option for many people. I asked Chad and Brenda Walding (doctors of physical therapy) to provide some quick and effective workouts to combat the negative effects of sitting. Enter Chad and Brenda…

“Yeah this one right here goes out to all the baby’s mamas, mamas…
Mamas, mamas, baby mamas, mamas
Yeah, go like this”
-Outkast (Ms. Jackson)

It’s an awesome time of year here in Austin, TX. The heat from the dry summer is finally leaving and the cool breeze is coming in. It’s also the weekend of the ACL music festival and Outkast is in town…hence the inspired quote:)

We were recently on The Wellness Mama podcast to talk about our upcoming book The Sitting Solution and it was such a great time! Afterwards, Katie asked us if we’d like to do a post for Fitness Friday! This got us a little motivated and we thought we’d do something for mamas today! After all… if mama ain’t happy then ain’t no body happy and we want to play our part.

Here are the workouts we mentioned with video demos so you can get started right away!. Have fun!

3-5 min AMRAP (As many reps or rounds as possible)

  • 5 Side bridges Left
  • 5 Side bridges Right
  • 5 Pushups
  • 10 Lunges

3-5 min AMRAP (As many reps or rounds as possible)

  • 5 Burpees
  • 10 Mountain climbers

3-5 min AMRAP (As many reps or rounds as possible)

  • 30 ft. Bear crawl
  • 15 Swimmers

3-5 min AMRAP (As many reps or rounds as possible)

  • 10 Squats
  • 5 Low to high planks
  • 3-5 min AMRAP (As many reps or rounds as possible)

3-5 min AMRAP (As many reps or rounds as possible)

  • 6 Renegade rows
  • 10 Thrusters”

Have questions? We’ve got answers!

So how many times a day and how often do you recommend we do these workouts?

-In the video we mention 3 or 4 times a day spaced out throughout the day (every 2-4 hours) but honestly just go by how you feel and fit it in when/where you can. Even if you do 1 workout throughout the day you’ll still find you’ve gotten a great workout in.

-As far as how many times a week to do these workouts…that too depends on how you feel and what time allows. Doing these workouts 2-5 times a week will give you excellent results. You don’t want to do too little AND you also don’t want to do too much! Listen to your body.

What exactly does “3-5 min AMRAP” mean?

-It means you can do 3 to 5 minutes of work depending on how you feel and what your schedule allows. In the video we only do it for 3 minutes and found it to be plenty! If you’d like to do up to 5 minutes then by all means go for it. But if you notice you’re slowing down and hitting muscle failure you’ve done plenty enough.

Can my kids do this with me?

-Absolutely…and we HIGHLY encourage it! These workouts are great for children, as they really promote core strength and improve movement patterns, which is SO critical as children age! They will have a blast with these workouts…especially the crawls!

What if I can’t go down as far as Brenda does when she does a squat, pushup, lunge or burpee? And I can’t move as fast as she does…should I quit?

-Stay at a comfortable depth with everything (squats, pushups, lunges, burpees, etc…). Also…you can use a chair to tap your butt on when you do squats and thrusters. If its difficult to do a burpee then just skip the pushup part and only kick your legs back, jump back, and then jump up.

-It’s very important that you don’t hurt yourself. Slow down if you have to and find your own pace. Focus more on the quality of your movement and let the intensity come after that. You’ll notice over time your mobility and strength will naturally improve and you’ll feel better.

You mentioned something about a Sitting Solution book that is an exercise program like this specifically designed for people who sit or stand in front of a desk all day…where can I find out more about that?

-Yes….you can check out our book “The Sitting Solution” here. This is a perfect tool for people who chronically sit. If you are staying at home with your kids and your spouse is away at work then this would make a nice gift.

Ok guys! We hoped you enjoyed this and you’re able to get something out of it! If you’d like to find out more about us you can find us here.

To all the mamas,

Chad Walding DPT, OPT L1, RKC
Brenda Walding DPT, FDN

Chad & Brenda Walding hold Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) degrees from Hardin-Simmons University. They own Alchemy Fitness + Flow, a holistic-based gym in Austin, Texas. Learn more about them at

Do you have a favorite quick workout? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. These are perfect! I recently had a baby, and I’m sitting so much while he’s nursing. I love these cuddly feeding times, but I’ve been thinking that I need to get up from each breastfeeding session and do some quick exercise. Thank you!

  2. I love this idea! I am a receptionist so I am basically sitting for 9 hours a day, and can’t get a standing desk for obvious reasons. I will definitely do a (moderate) version of these exercises on my lunch break!

  3. I love this idea. I’ve recently started blogging ( and I find that I am sitting more while I’m blogging about health! I am ready to add these into my day so I can keep healthy while I blog about health, lol.

  4. I cannot do the exercises that require me to do the toes down and the butt up. I have been doing these on my knees. Will that be okay until I am stronger?

    • Hey Sue…YES! Modify whatever we you need to such that you’re not having pain. These are BIG movement that encourage A LOT of muscles to work together. You’ll notice quick improvements in strength and mobility! Let us know how it goes:)

  5. These are great – like little mini-WODs. I’m a stay at home mom, so i do a lot of running around, but I need more during the days to help me feel fit.. and tired for bed…!

  6. Any suggestions for work appropriate clothing that would allow for these kind of movements? I love the idea of throwing a few mini workouts into my day but I am in an office environment and ideally in business casual dress!

  7. One way I can gauge if I’ve been sitting too long is what my blood sugar is doing. If I’m sitting around too much it’s just going to build up a bit more than I’d like!
    Exercise helps keep that low, in range or close to in range.
    Diet only helps my diabetes so much because it’s Steroid Induced Diabetes from meds for my lung transplant. 🙂
    The more active I am during the day though the better I feel.

  8. this is great. but actual resistance training is now showing itself to be indispensable for all ages, even making a difference in rates of cancer survival where cardio exercise doesnt.

    have a look at The Glute Guy, Bret Contreras, who specialises in reactivating the butt muscles! One fundamental thing he would point you to is to stretch out your hip flexors, which is an important step for the modern lifestyle. The glutes are the biggest muscle in our body and are fundamental in sports, especially sprinting – yes very paleo! But even many sportspeople lack fully activated glute muscles. Weak glutes are a major reason for knee problems.

  9. Chad and Brenda,

    Nice job on your program. I looks like you offer a lot of practical effective advice. I think your program will be a great help for many people. Just a thought… the addition of some joint mobility exercised, for increasing blood flow to the joints, could be a great benefit to people who do not have the space or proper environment at work to get down on the floor. Congratulations on your program.


  10. Hi. I watched all of these videos and couldn’t decide if you did each small section a day or one of these sections a day.

  11. this is genius! I work in a VERY static job. this will be perfect for morning warm up to get the body ready and for at work warm up and work out! best idea ever thank you for sharing

  12. Love this – thank you!

    This year there was a great article written in McLean’s Magazine (Canada) that called sitting the “new smoking” because of all the harmful health consequences it leads to. Unfortunately, sitting still isn’t seen as being a “dirty” habit like smoking. Hopefully that will change 🙂

    PS – I shared these exercises with all my mom clients. Thanks again

  13. What kind of dog is your little mascot, Maya? 🙂 Cute