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14 ways to work out at your desk at work
Burn calories with simple exercises while reading email or writing
HEALTHWATCHworkexercise1
While completing paperwork, Frances Meadows Aquatic Center Assistant Division Manager Zandrea Stephens holds her leg up for a set period of time and repeats for a predetermined amount of sets while she sits. It helps her work out while at work.

It seems like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done, and time to exercise often gets put on the chopping block first.

But exercise is important, said Zandrea Stephens, assistant division manager at Frances Meadows Aquatic Center, a fitness facility with two indoor pools, a seasonal outdoor water park and water and land exercise classes.

Exercise not only keeps you physically fit, it also stimulates the brain and causes good feelings, Stephens said.

“It helps if you’re feeling anxiety or depression or are overwhelmed at work,” Stephens said.

She said to get more physical fitness in your daily routine, you don’t always have to take an exercise class, hit the pavement for a jog around your neighborhood or swim laps in the pool.

“Not everybody can do exercises and go to classes or even have the money for fitness facilities, but they can definitely do it on their own,” she said.

Therefore, Stephens along with Frances Meadows fitness instructors and personal trainers Cheryl Brown and Tina Comeaux devised some quick, in-office workouts for professionals to complete during their work day. 

Stephens recommends setting a goal of exercises to do in the office, maybe even setting up a challenge with your co-workers.

“It’s 2017,” Stephens said. “There’s no excuse not to exercise. You can do it in your office by your lonesome.”

If you have access to a fitness facility, Stephens recommends working out on your lunch break or before work.

But for those who cannot, try these additional exercises at work:

1. LEG EXTENSIONS

While sitting in your chair, extend your right leg until it is level with your hip. Hold as long as comfortable and then relax it. Alternate sides.

2. STAND WHEN PHONE RINGS

Each time the phone rings, stand up. It will force you to do a squat motion.

“If you do that and your phone has rung 20 times a day, you’ve gotten 20 squats in,” Stephens said.

3. TAKE THE LONG ROUTE

Do you have a printer near your desk? Print documents to a printer in another room. You’ll have to walk to get that document.

4. FOOTBALL FEET

At practice, football players practice rapidly tapping their feet in place, simulating a run. Do this while seated for 30-second intervals. This exercise works out the calves and thighs, Stephens said.

5. HIP FLEXIONS

While sitting in your chair, lift your right foot a few inches off the floor. Keep your knee bent at a 90-degree angle and hold the position as long as you are comfortable. This can be done while working at your desk, writing and reading documents.

6. FRONT RAISES, OVERHEAD PRESSES AND BICEP CURLS

“You don’t need dumbbells, you don’t need hand weights, you just need some cheap water,” Stephens said.

She recommends doing these exercises in intervals of 10. You can do while focused on your computer.

7. GLUTEAL SQUEEZE

Tense up the muscles of your rear end and hold for a count of 10.

“You can do this all day long,” Stephens said.

8. CHAIR SQUATS

Lift your rear end off your seat and hold for a few seconds or do several in a row. Stephens said this exercise gets a little bit of cardio in as the heart starts to pick up its pace while you’re holding yourself up.

9. CHAIR DIPS

Place the palms of your hands on your chair and your feet on the floor. Move your rear off the edge of your seat. Bend your elbows and lower your body. Straighten your arms to return to the starting position. Do this while reading email or other information from the computer screen.

10. WALL SITS

Rest your back against a wall and move your feet away from the wall. The wall should support the weight of your back and knees should be bent. Hold the position as long as possible.

11. STRESS BALL SQUEEZE

Squeeze an apple or balled up paper with your hand.

It’s a good way to get movability in your hands and forearms, Stephens said.

“This is not only doing just a small exercise, this is also relieving some of that tension you have from the day,” she said. “At 4:30 p.m. when I say I’ve had enough of today, I need to squeeze my apple.”

12. FORWARD BEND STRETCH

Stand several feet behind your chair. Raise both arms overhead and “hinge” forward from your hips, keeping your back straight. Hold on to the back of the chair to keep steady for a few seconds, then rise up to stand straight.

13. TWO-ARM DOORWAY STRETCH

Stand in a doorframe and push your arms out to your sides, placing your forearms against the frame. Make sure your elbows are at a 90-degree angle with your triceps parallel to the ground. Slowly walk forward until you feel a light stretch in the chest and shoulders. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and return to starting position.

14. SEATED TORSO TWISTS

Sit in a chair with good posture and your feet flat on the floor. Twist from side to side, holding for four counts and trying to touch the back of the chair with your hand. Return smoothly to center and repeat on the other side.

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