As healthcare providers, nurses constantly advise patients to exercise. Yet, with stressful schedules, it is hard to walk the talk when all you want is to hit the bed after a long day.

Can brief spurts of stretching and squatting at your work station be as reinvigorating as a 45-minute gym session?

American fitness professional and author of a book on exercising tips for any location Joan Price says, "We are made to move, not sit at a desk 12 hours a day. Exercise should be a treat, not a treatment.”

Here are creative ways to enjoy a little push at your work station:

1. Protect your knees

Wherever you are, you can simulate a football drill by running on the spot for 60 seconds. This helps to get your knees up and moving. Alternatively, you can do a slow march in place.

2. Boost your core

Take the “Magic Carpet Ride” by sitting with your legs crossed and feet on the seat. Rest your hands on the armrest, suck in your gut and using your stomach, muscles and hands, elevate yourself a few inches above your chair. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and rest for 30 seconds. Repeat three to five times.

3. Flex your arms

Instead of dumbbells, you can use two filled water bottles. With a bottle in each hand and with arms down by your sides, stand with your feet slightly apart. Raise your arms slowly in front of you until they are at shoulder height. Hold for 10 seconds and lower your arms back to your sides. Repeat a few times.

To boost your triceps, hold a heavy book behind your head, lift your arms and drop it back down by your neck. Repeat the exercise.

4. Improve your posture

Do some shoulder blade squeezes and you will feel good instantly. Stand with your feet comfortably apart. Imagine that you are holding a pencil between your shoulder blades. Bend your arms and raise them to your sides, keeping them at shoulder height. Keep your shoulders down and squeeze the blades together. Slowly open your arms behind you. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Release and repeat.

5. Strengthen your calf muscles

Stand with feet together while holding on to the back of your chair. Standing on tip toes, rise as high as possible to feel the stretch of your calves. Hold for 10 seconds and then release. Repeat five times.

6. Tone your buttocks

Stand upright. Lift your left leg directly behind you. Lift your heel as high as you can and engage your abs to keep the balance. If you can’t, you may hold the edge of the desk. Next, lower your left leg till it is parallel with your right leg, but avoid touching the floor. Lift it back up behind you before returning to the original posture. Repeat with the other leg.

7. Fire up your quads

Attempt a wall sit. Stand with your back against a wall. Move your feet slightly away from the wall. Keeping your back straight, slide slowly down the wall until you are in a sitting position, with your knees at a right angle. Hold this position as long as you can and then slowly slide back up. This will tone your quads.

8. Keep fit and trim

Stand facing your desk or counter. Place your hands on the edge, shoulders comfortably apart. Move your feet back a little to allow more space to stretch. Keep your back straight and shoulders even, then lower yourself towards the desk until you are no longer touching it. Hold this for a few seconds and push yourself up slowly. Repeat.

So, as amazing as it sounds, taking a mini time-out for a brief “stretchercise” each day wherever you are can keep you healthy while still maximising your workday schedule. MIMS

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