Yoga’s good for more than just hot girls in tight pants. Just 15 minutes of it–and you don’t even have to stand up!–can increase your heart rate and shrink your stress levels, says a new Australian study.
In the study, 20 office workers performed three tasks from their chairs: meditation, yoga, or simply sitting at their computers. The results? Office chair yoga increased heart rate by 6.5 percent and reduced stress by 16.6 percent when compared to the people doing nothing. Meanwhile, meditation–simply listening to a soundtrack and practicing deep breathing–reduced stress by 24.5 percent. (Want tons more must-have health tips like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our FREE Daily Dose newsletter.)
The best part: Results lingered for 15 minutes after the tests.
Sure, it may not seem like much, but remember: Movement of any kind makes your heart work harder. Meditation, on the other hand, helps unplug your brain from daily stressors. It also increases your parasympathetic nervous system activity, which leads to physiological changes like a lower heart rate, says lead researcher Bobby Cheema, M.D., senior lecturer of sport and exercise science at the University of Western Sydney.
Your move? De-stress–and even squeeze a small workout in–by holding a few simple moves for six breaths each. (Come on, you’re already sitting at your computer reading this!)
- The side bend: Sit upright in your chair with both feet on the ground. Extend your arms overhead, clasping your hands together and bend your body to the left. Come back to the middle and bend your body to the right.
- The forward bend: Once you return to the center, simply curl your body forward so that your elbows are by your knees, and your head is down.
- The back bend: Sit back upright and place both arms behind your head with your hands clasped together and elbows out. Push your chest out and lean your head back so that you’re bending backwards.
- Arms above head: It’s as simple as it sounds. Seated upright, simply bring your hands overhead with your fingers clasped together and push up while looking up.