Not Exercising is As Bad for You as Smoking

Let’s say that again.  Not exercising is as bad for you as smoking.  Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health.  And it’s true; failure to exercise is equally harmful in terms of poor health and shortened life span.

We all know we should exercise. The real question is when? If you’re up before dawn to reach the office on time and ready to collapse when the sun goes down, here’s one solution: Get your exercise at work.

Sure, there are days when you barely have time for a bathroom break, let alone 30 minutes of cardio. That’s why we asked two fitness experts to share some mini-workouts to fit snugly into the workday.

Research suggests two or three 10-minute exercise sessions a day can build fitness and burn calories even more effectively than three weekly 30- to 45-minute workouts. Best of all, you won’t need to find gear or a shower – we won’t even muss your suit.

Strength Training

You could lug weights to the office, but don’t you already have enough to carry? Instead, stay at your desk and try these isometric exercises – using your own body weight for resistance – recommended by Dan Johnson, executive director of the Wellness Council of Tucson, Ariz.

Chest

  1. Hold hands in a prayer position in front of your chest.
  2. Press hands together.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat three times.

Abs

  1. Sit up straight with your back against your chair.
  2. Exhale.
  3. Tense your stomach muscles.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat three times.

Glutes

  1. Sit upright in your chair.
  2. Squeeze your buttocks together.
  3. Relax and repeat.
  4. Do three sets of 10 – 15 reps.

Arms

Biceps

  1. Use a heavy book (but not so heavy you can’t lift it) for curls.
  2. Start with your arm at your side
  3. Raise the book to your shoulder.
  4. Make sure your elbow stays tucked near your hip; don’t hunch your shoulders. Grip the book firmly but lightly to keep your blood pressure level.
  5. Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps, alternating arms.

Triceps

  1. With your back to your desk, cup your hands around the edge.
  2. Extend your legs in front of you.
  3. Lower yourself so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  4. Press your body back up.
  5. Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Legs

  1. Stand about six inches from your desk chair.
  2. Squat as if you were going to sit down.
  3. Just as your bottom touches the chair, stand up.
  4. Repeat to a count of 20.

Stretching

These easy stretches can improve flexibility and protect against repetitive motion injuries. Plus, they’re easy to do while you’re on the phone, sending e-mail, even in meetings.

Wrists

  1. Make a fist.
  2. Rotate wrist in a circle.
  3. Reverse in other direction.

Head and neck

  1. Drop your head sideways toward your right shoulder.
  2. With your right hand, gently pull your head down further to your shoulder.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat on the left.

Shoulders

  1. Bring your right arm across your body, parallel to your shoulders.
  2. Grip your right elbow with your left hand and gently pull.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat on left.

Feet

  1. Take off your shoes.
  2. Roll a golf ball under one foot.
  3. Roll the ball under the other foot.
  4. Feel the energizing blood flow back to your feet.

Cardio

Walking is a great cardio workout. It’s easy on your joints and requires no equipment or training. Just remember, you have to pick up the pace – no strolling! Sherri Dixon, fitness director at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas, shares these hassle-free ways to step up your walking routine.

  • Park your car about two-thirds of a mile from your office, then walk the rest of the way.
  • Take the stairs to your office. If you work on a high floor, take the elevator part of the way, then walk to your floor.
  • Use a bathroom on another floor, and take the stairs to get there.
  • Go to the mall on your lunch hour and dart around for some high-speed window-shopping.
  • Meet friends for a lunchtime walk instead of food.
  • Have a “moving” brainstorming session with your staff, either around your company grounds or in a nearby park or parking lot – just keep the pace moderate, so everyone can talk without wheezing.
  • Take a walking “breather” with books on tape or favorite music CDs or MP3s that you reserve exclusively for exercise time.

Failure to get your body moving on a regular basis is deadly.  Ask your FDN practitioner for a good exercise routine and keep a journal or your activities.

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