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6 exercises you can sneak into your workday

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Do you find it unrealistic to plan a regular workout?

We’ve found a way for you to sneak a workout into your workday without anyone seeing or knowing!

If you want to ramp it up, you can add in a pair of ankle weights (around $10) and a flex band (under $20).

  • When you’re standing and charting, do toe rises. That is, rise up onto your toes and then lower. Squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) together as you rise.
  • If sitting to chart, practice pulling your lower pelvic and abdominal muscles in and up, and your rib cage in and down. You can also be doing Kegel exercises and no one will know! Another sitting exercise: Tighten your glutes and release.
  • While sitting at the nurse’s station, do leg lifts. Flex your foot and lift, and then lower. This is especially effective if you use a stability ball for a chair and put on ankle weights.
  • Anytime you have few moments of waiting, stand tall and do leg lifts by a wall. You may hold onto the wall if needed. Lift your leg laterally (out to the side) with your foot flexed, 10 times, then to the front 10 times, then extend behind you 10 times. Extend from the hip only—no bent knees. Keep your foot flexed. Wear ankle weights to boost the workout.
  • While in a patient’s room (maybe while making a bed), do 5 to 10 squats holding onto the end of the bed. Squeeze your butt cheeks together as you rise up, and make sure your toes don’t go past your knees. That means your butt is sitting back into an invisible chair.
  • When you get to the break room, strengthen your arms, shoulders, back and chest with your flex band. Grab the band with both hands about shoulder-width apart. You should feel slight tension. Raise the band at shoulder level with both arms. Pull the band in opposite directions to feel the tension increase, then release the tension. Do this 15 times. Then, holding the band with both hands, raise it over your head, pull the band in opposite directions, then release. Now, step on the band with your left foot and grab it with your right hand. Stand tall and pull the band from about your left hip diagonally across your body, so your right arm straightens out to your right side and extends at about 45 degrees. Do this 15 times and then switch sides.

There! You’ve just done a quick workout and no one knew (no one, that is, but your tighter, happier body)!

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Laura McElroy

Laura McElroy, CPT, RN, spent her early adult years as an RN, working in areas including oncology, med-surg and home health. Her love of teaching—and also seeing firsthand the chronic illnesses created by unhealthy living—led her to teach health and fitness (preventative medicine). Laura is a certified personal trainer, teaches boot camps and has clients ranging in age from 25 to 80. A wife and a mother of two sons, she is in the process of becoming Stott Pilates certified.
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4 Responses to 6 exercises you can sneak into your workday

  1. Kim

    In orientation, we received a stretch band with instructions like this. I’ve carried it with me everyday in my workbag but have never used it. Maybe I should dig it out and keep it in the break room for “quickies” during water breaks. Good ideas here.

  2. Ted

    Three things that came to mind are – 1. Take the stairs at work.
    2. Grab a couple of your co-workers and go for a walk at lunch.
    3. Bring your own food to work. I know it’s not exercise, but it really makes a difference when you pack yourself a healthy meal.

  3. terryrn19 RN

    This is excellent information to use. Thanks for sharing and giving us these tips!

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