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Exercise at Your Desk

Memo: This at-work workout can help fit fitness into your schedule

Want Something Less Breathless?

Afraid the phone will ring and you'll sound like a lion is chasing you? Price's book has more than 300 less dramatic -- but equally beneficial -- exercises. "I call these fitness minutes," she says.

Some strength-building suggestions:

  • Do one-legged squats (hold onto a wall or table for support) while waiting for a web page to load, the copier to spit our your reports, or faxes to slither out.
  • Stand with one leg straight and try to kick your buttocks with the other.
  • Sitting in your chair, lift one leg off the seat, extend it out straight, hold for 2 seconds; then lower your foot (stop short of the floor) and hold for several seconds. Switch; do each leg 15 times.
  • To work your chest and shoulders, place both hands on your chair arms and slowly lift your bottom off the chair. Lower yourself back down but stop short of the seat, hold for a few seconds. Do 15 times.
  • To stretch your back and strengthen your biceps, place your hands on the desk and hang on. Slowly push your chair back until your head is between your arms and you're looking at the floor. Then slowly pull yourself back in. Again, 15 of these.
  • Desk pushups can be a good strengthener. (First, make sure your desk is solid enough to support your weight.) Standing, put your hands on the desk. Walk backward, then do push-ups against the desk. Repeat 15 times.

Reach for the Sky

Stretching exercises are a natural for the desk-bound, to ease stress and keep your muscles from clenching up. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Sitting tall in your chair, stretch both arms over your head and reach for the sky. After 10 seconds, extend the right hand higher, then the left.
  • Let your head loll over so that your right ear nearly touches your right shoulder. Using your hand, press your head a little lower (gently, now). Hold for 10 seconds. Relax, and then repeat on the other side.
  • Try this yoga posture to relieve tension: Sit facing forward, then turn your head to the left and your torso to the right, and hold a few seconds. Repeat 15 times, alternating sides.
  • Sitting up straight, try to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold, and then relax.
  • You get to put your feet up for this one! To ease the hamstrings and lower back, push your chair away from your desk and put your right heel up on the desk. Sit up straight, and bend forward just until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg. Flex your foot for a few seconds, and then point it. Bend forward a little farther, flex your foot again, and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

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