THE BLOG
11/09/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

How To Exercise At Your Desk

I'm don't consider myself a workaholic - more like a work-a-lot-ic. And at midlife, I strive now more than ever to integrate time for exercise into my daily routine. The at-home treadmill helps and I have found that making dates with girlfriends to go for hikes and walks is a fool proof method of getting myself moving.

But, when the pressure mounts and deadlines loom, I do occasionally find myself sitting in my workout clothes (and running shoes) sucked into email on my computer, instead of hiking the trails.

For many of us, finding the time to get in the recommended 30 minutes a day of exercise can seem daunting, but the Loyola Center for Fitness says that even when we are glued to our desk, we can still exercise.

"Taking a break from work for even a few minutes can help you feel better and increase your energy level," said Kara Smith, special programs coordinator for the Loyola Center for Fitness.

Here are some exercises Smith recommends that allow you to get in some cardiovascular, strength and flexibility exercise - all at or near your desk.

Cardiovascular


1. Stand whenever possible. Standing opens the front of the hips

2. Take the stairs. Five to seven times a day is a good goal

3. March in place or take a brief walk around your office to increase your energy and blood flow


Strength


1. Strengthen legs by standing feet hip width apart. Sink your hips back as if sitting in a chair. Lower slightly, return to standing

2. Strengthen your arms, shoulders and chest. Sit in a chair without wheels and place your hand on the arms. Use your arms to lift your bottom off the chair seat and lower yourself back down. Aim for 15 repetitions

3. Work your knees by sitting tall in chair. Lift one leg and straighten, hold for 2 seconds and lower. Repeat with other leg.

4. Stretch your back and shoulders by squeezing your shoulder blades together and away from your ears, hold for three seconds and release. Repeat 15 times.

Flexibility


1. Sit in a chair and reach both arms overhead, stretching them back. Hold for 10 seconds. Grab your right wrist with left hand and stretch deeper through your right side. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat opposite side.

2. Hold your arms in front of you and gently circle your wrists in both a clockwise and counterclockwise motion. Stretch your hands by making fists then opening them as wide as you can

3. Sit tall in a chair keeping your weight even in both hips. Gently turn your body to the right. Deepen the stretch by using your left hand to hold the right chair arm. Hold for 15 seconds, switch sides

4. Release neck tension by sitting tall in your chair. Release your right shoulder down, you can even sit on your right hand, and tilt your head so your left ear is going towards your left shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds, switch sides.

Karen Leland is author of Watercooler Wisdom: How Smart People Prosper in the Face of Conflict, Pressure and Change. Read more at www.karenleland.com

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