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4 Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk

by Rita Beckford, M.D.

woman-exercising-phoneDoing simple exercises at work can keep you more alert and relaxed. Just don't plan on replacing the traditional form of exercising that you do throughout the week.

Here are four desk exercises to punch up your workday:

  1. Shoulder Shrugs: Simply bring your shoulders up and down. Repeat this five times. Feel good? Add small circles. Circle to the front five times and to the back five times. This is an awesome tension-tamer.
  2. Neck Rolls: Close your eyes, and roll your neck around slowly in one direction. Repeat in the opposite direction. Imagine a beautiful vacation spot. The stress will melt away.
  3. Leg Kicks: In the seated position, with your knees bent, take turns lifting each leg. Want to make it a little more difficult? Once the leg is up, make small circles with your foot, five in one direction and five in the other. Repeat on the opposite leg.
  4. Marching in Your Seat: It's as easy as it sounds. Simply march in your seat. Thirty-second intervals are great. Be sure to maintain good posture.

All these desk exercises are easy to do and good for circulation and relaxation. Some can also help with muscle strength and, of course, our favorite: burning calories. But don't expect miracles.

Doing these activities throughout the day may just amount to a little over 100 calories. But it is true that every little bit helps. Also, if you're busy doing your desk exercises, you're going to be less likely to indulge in an unhealthy snack.

As with any new exercise, see a doctor first, and if any pain results while doing it, stop immediately and seek professional care.


Board-certified family doctor RITA BECKFORD, M.D., is the host of the fitness and weight-loss DVD Home With Dr. B. She's a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor.

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Last updated and/or approved: February 2012.
Original article appeared in a previous issue of the former print magazine. Bio current as of that issue. This general health-care information is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.

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