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Working out at Work

By: Aarti Patel Email By: Aarti Patel
March 2011
Working out at Work

How about incorporating these exercises throughout your workday to loosen stiff muscles and get some blood pumping?  

Sitting at work for long hours in front of the computer might be something you commonly do, but even though you’ve got deadlines to meet and that project must be completed, it is not the best thing to do for your body. Sitting for a long period of time causes poor blood circulation, which reduces the flow of blood to muscles, and eventually leads to fatigue at the end of the day. A little exercise will make a difference.

Start with stretches first. Stretches are a great way to relieve tension in tight muscles. Hold each stretch for 10 seconds and do three repetitions. Begin with sitting upright in your chair. Drop your head towards your right shoulder and hold. Use your hand to gently press down a little more and hold. Now relax, and repeat with the left side. Finally, drop your head forward and slowly rotate it in a circle clockwise and then counter-clockwise three times.

To stretch your lower back, push your chair away from your desk, and still seated, place one leg on your desk and gently lean your body forward and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with the other side. To stretch out your chest and shoulders, (still seated on your chair) clasp your hands behind your chair, rotate your shoulders back and now gently lean forward.

Desk pushups are a great exercise to maintain upper-body strength. While standing, put your hands on the edge of your desk. (Make sure the desk is sturdy enough to hold your weight!)  Now walk backward keeping your entire body flat and do pushups against the desk. You can start with 10-15 pushups and eventually work your way up to 25, 50 and even 100! You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can develop your upper body strength if you do this consistently. 

How about purchasing two- or three-pound dumbbells and having them available at your desk for a quick routine of side raises, bicep curls and shoulder presses? Perform side raises by either standing up or sitting in your chair. Hold dumbbells in each hand by your side. Now raise your arms parallel to the floor. Hold for two seconds and lower. Repeat several times. Perform bicep curls by sitting in your chair. Hold both dumbbells in one hand. Now lean forward and place that elbow on your knee. Lower your hand with the dumbbells and then slowly curl up. Repeat 10-15 times on each side.  

Sitting in your chair, you can even tighten your abdominals. When checking or responding to e-mail, sit up straight in your chair. Now suck your stomach in and imagine that you’re pulling your belly button to the back of the chair. Hold this position for 10 seconds, release and then relax. Repeat this until all your e-mail has been answered, or perform this whenever you’re on the computer. 

Every time you’re on the phone get off your chair and do some squats. Walk one step away from the chair, spread your feet shoulder-width apart and lower your body toward the edge of the chair. Get back up as soon as your buttocks touch the chair. Start with 15 squats and work your way up. Instead of grabbing another cup of coffee when you need a lift, do some lunges to get your blood really pumping. Lunges are a great lower-body exercise that can be performed right there in your office. Stand up holding two- or three-pound dumbbells in each hand. Extend one leg forward, then with your back straight lower your body by bending your knees and making sure your knee doesn’t extend beyond your toes. The back leg should not touch the ground. Now proceed with standing up and bringing the forward leg back to a standing position and repeat with the other side. Start with 10-15 repetitions and work your way up.  

Being at a desk job all day should not give you stiff muscles. Why not make a workout plan for work? Get your co-workers involved. Target a different body part with an exercise every hour to two hours. It will only take about five minutes each time, and you will leave the office feeling energized and strong at the end of the day.

If you have any medical issues, please check with your doctor before beginning any of these exercises.

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