Working at a desk means you’re likely to be sitting in the same way for hours, and this has been found to have an impact on our health, increasing our risk of developing serious diseases.
Finding time out of our busy schedules to exercise in order to negate the consequences of desk work is not always possible.
However, new research suggests that one small movement, which can be done at your desk itself, can help mitigate some of the negative effects of sitting still for too long.
Here’s what you need to know about the exercise and how it helps your health.
What is the soleus push-up?
The soleus muscle is the large muscle on the back of your lower legs, which is crucial for walking, running and jumping.
Scientists have recently found that one simple exercise can active the soleus muscle’s metabolic potential. This exercise is called the “soleus push-up”.
The exercise keeps the soleus muscle energised by burning fat and blood glucose, which in turn keeps the metabolism of the muscle ticking for hours while also keeping conditions like high cholesterol in check.
How do soleus push-ups help?
A study revealed that soleus pushups led to a 52% improvement in stabilising blood glucose fluctuations, as well as a 60% reduced insulin requirement.
Marc Hamilton, professor of Health and Human Performance at the University of Houston, said: “We never dreamed that this muscle has this type of capacity. It’s been inside our bodies all along, but no one ever investigated how to use it to optimise our health, until now.
“When activated correctly, the soleus muscle can raise local oxidative metabolism to high levels for hours, not just minutes, and does so by using a different fuel mixture.”
How to do the soleus push-up
The soleus push-up can be done while you’re in a comfortable seated position.
While seated, keep your feet flat on the floor and your muscles relaxed. Raise your heels while the front of the foot stays put.
When the heel gets to the top of its range of motion, the foot is released slowly to come back down.
The aim of this exercise is simultaneously shorten the calf muscle while the soleus is naturally activated.
The soleus push-up might look simple to do , however, it’s a very specific movement which might require experience practising or even wearable technology, according to professor Marc Hamilton.
The team behind the study is working on perfecting instructions so desk workers can pull off the soleus push-up without any prior experience doing it.