Stretches and Exercises You Can Do While at Work

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An Army soldier performs a thigh stretch.
U.S. Army Spc. Leilani J. Chelette performs a thigh stretch during physical readiness training at the William W. S. Bliss Parade Field, Fort Bliss, Texas, Sept. 10, 2010. (Spc. Sinthia Rosario/U.S. Army photo)

Too many Americans work long hours inside an office and do not exercise before or after work. All it takes is a few short years of inactivity, and you can gain as much as 50 pounds. This is a nationwide issue that affects our health as senior citizens, young adults and even children.

The answer is easier said than done, but easily understood. If you eat more calories than you expend in a day, you will gain weight. The opposite holds true as well; if you can burn off more than you consume, you will lose weight. Losing weight is not rocket science. You can do it if you stick to a program of moderation in food consumption and daily exercise.

Below are a few stretches and exercises taken out of the Beginner's Guide to Fitness on the Military.com eBook Fitness Store. Not only will we help you with a program, but assistance is just an email away with Stew Smith -- stew@stewsmith.com.

Here are five easy stretches and exercises to get the blood flowing. Slightly increasing your level of activity will aid in increasing your energy level. More energy can lead to greater productivity at your job or school. All it takes is a few minutes a couple of times a day to relieve job-related stress, increase your energy level and ultimately make you healthier.

Before stretching, walk around the office for about 3-5 minutes. Get some water, go to the bathroom ...

Five key stretches

(Do stretches for 15-30 seconds)

1. Neck: Slowly tilt your head toward your shoulder and hold for 10 seconds on each side. Keep this one slow and easy; the neck is very easy to injure.

2. Arm shoulders: Pull your arm across your chest, hook your other arm around it to pull the tension out of your upper back and rear shoulders.

3. Back/legs: Lean forward at the waist, either while standing or sitting, and bring your chest toward your thighs. Slowly try to straighten your legs, stretching your hamstrings.

4. Thigh: Sit on the left edge of your chair or stand. Grab your left ankle and pull it upward toward your buttocks. Switch sides.

5. Calf: Stand and lean into your desk with your heels on the floor. Bend your knees slightly to stretch your Achilles' tendons.

Five key exercises

1. Leg squats: Stand in front of your chair and repeat sitting down and standing up 10 times three times a day.

2. Shoulder shrugs: Just pull your shoulders as high as you can and roll them forward 10 times and backward 10 times throughout the day.

3. Dumbbell curls: While on the phone, you can grab a dumbbell and do biceps curls for 20 repetitions three times a day. Straighten your arms by your side and bring your hand (dumbbell) to your shoulder. Keep your palms up. Do one at a time if on the phone.

4. Bench dips: Using your chair or a sturdy table, place your hands on the edge of the object and bend your arms slowly to lower yourself about six inches lower than the seat. Raise yourself by straightening your arms. Repeat this three times a day for 10 repetitions.

5. Assisted push-up: In the office, lean up against your desk and push yourself away from it while in a leaning position. Repeat this three times a day for 10 repetitions.

The office sometimes can wear you down physically. Revive yourself occasionally with a few stretches and basic exercises. Don't let office duty make you pay for larger uniforms or new clothes (unless they are smaller ones).

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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