Workouts for Workaholics

Even workers glued to their desks don’t have an excuse for not exercising. Follow these tips from the Loyola Center for Fitness to get an in-office workout, often without even leaving your chair or venturing beyond your desk.

“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.

These exercises allow you to work out at or near your desk in the three main fitness categories: cardiovascular, strength and flexibility.

Cardiovascular

1. Stand whenever possible. Standing opens the front of the hips.
2. Take the stairs. Hitting the steps 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.
4. Increase your heart-rate with these methods: Pretend you have a jump rope and jump on both legs or alternate legs; do jumping jacks; bring your knees toward hip level and transfer your weight quickly to take marching in place to the next level; and do the “football shuffle” by taking quick steps with your knees slightly bent and shoulder-width apart.

Strength

1. Strengthen your legs by standing feet hip-width apart. Sink your hips back as if sitting in a chair. Lower slightly, then 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 your 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 and then repeat on the 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, then 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, then switch sides.

Being self-conscious about working out in the workplace is no excuse, either.

“If co-workers give you a strange look while you’re exercising, ask them to join you,” Smith said.

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