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Quick Workouts at Work

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What to Eat at Work?
At work, most of us are sitting for most of the day. If we exercise regularly, our basal metabolic rate increases, and our muscles burn energy while we're resting. However, this doesn't give us a free pass to eat whatever we like, whenever we like.

Following a healthy food plan can be challenging if we work in an office. It's so easy to drink three or four cups of coffee, get our sugar fix from the vending machine, and grab some fast food for lunch. No one has time to waste sitting in a restaurant.

And, usually, hours go by before we remember we need to eat. As a result, our blood sugar levels yo-yo wildly, zooming up after a mid-morning candy bar, and crashing down four hours later, when we finally call a take-out place.

Healthy solutions take some preparation and effort, yet the benefits in terms of avoiding diabetes and obesity are immeasurable. Bring zippered plastic bags containing four reduced-fat cheddar and string cheese sticks, an apple, and a banana. Now you've got two quick meals, both combining protein and carbohydrate. A protein-and-carbohydrate energy bar (there are plenty of good-tasting selections) makes a third small meal, and you've successfully maintained good energy levels throughout the day!

The most important thing to do - every hour or so - is change your posture and get the body parts moving again. Stand up, take a few slow, deep breaths, and walk around for five minutes. Change your perspective. Go to the window, look around, see something other than the Power Point you've been working on for the last hour. Refresh your mind with new images, new scenery.

Now, back at your desk, you're ready to do a series of simple exercises that will get your physical and mental systems back online -

SITTING
•    Gently tilt your head forward and back
•    Gently turn your head toward your shoulder, right and left
•    Gently tilt your ear toward your shoulder, right and left
•    Shoulder shrugs - lift your shoulders toward your ears
•    Shoulder rolls - forward and back
•    Wrist circles - clockwise and counterclockwise
•    Ankle circles - clockwise and counterclockwise

STANDING
•    Arm circles - clockwise and counterclockwise
•    Knee bends - halfway down and come up
•    Knee raises (lightly touch a wall with one hand for support)
•    Spine twists (hands on hips, gently twist right and left)
•    Spine side bends ((hands on hips, gently bend right and left)

How many repetitions to do? Just a few for each exercise - you'll know instinctively what feels good, what feels right. And in less than ten minutes, you've stimulated your muscles and joints throughout your body, recharged your nervous system, regained the benefits you achieved earlier in the day at the gym, and are primed to have a great rest of the day!

1Blanchette DM, et al. Aerobic Exercise and Cognitive Creativity: Immediate and Residual Effects. Creativity Research Journal, 17(3):257-264, 2005.
2Steinberg H, et al. Exercise enhances creativity independently of mood. Brit J Sports Med 31(3):240-245, 1997.
3Wiley RL, et al. Isometric exercise training lowers resting blood pressure. Med Sci Sports Exerc 24(7):749-54, 1992.

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