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What’s the best exercise?

Woman walking her pet dog“What’s the best exercise for losing weight?” is a common question says Dr. Roman Ledger of East Bridge Hospital in San Diego, and his answer is “whatever exercise you’ll do consistently.” Running may burn more calories per minute than walking, but if you’re more likely to stay the course on a walking program, then you’ll burn more calories overall in the long run. When venturing into a new exercise program, Dr. Roman says “it’s more important to consider your own personal preferences, not the calorie listings in a diet book.” For example, if you prefer being in the great outdoors to exercising indoors, you may find that hiking becomes a constant in your life, whereas the treadmill might be tossed aside after a brief interlude. Start with your likes and dislikes, and find ways to make exercise a part of your daily life, such as walking the dog. With this approach, you’re likely to make a long commitment to an exercise program simply because it naturally enhances your life.

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Hydrate with spa water

hydrate with spa water-487009004Do you ever have a hard time drinking your eight glasses of water in a day? Try mixing some fresh fruit and herbs into your water. This tasty “spa water” will give your water a natural flavor kick and will help you stay hydrated throughout your busy day. Some tasty combinations include cucumber orange, blueberry kiwi mint, watermelon rosemary, and orange basil, or you can make your own concoction using your favorite flavors.

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Exercises you really can do at your desk

We’ve all seen the long lists of extensive exercises you can do to increase your activity at your desk. If you’re one of the many who spends long hours at your desk, incorporating activities is a great idea. However, some of the activities making their way into fitness blogs don’t seem possible, unless you have a private office or work from home. While I agree that yoga is great for your health, doing the downward dog might raise the eyebrows of your coworkers, especially if you’re in a cubicle.

We’ve come up with five simple activities that you can do every day, and will give you the extra impact you’re looking for, without making you feel foolish in front of others.

Leg Lifts

Sitting for long periods can decrease circulation and cause water retention. This simple exercise will help increase your circulation and strengthen your leg muscles.

  • While sitting straight up at your desk, raise one leg and hold it in place for 10-15 seconds.
  • Repeat with other leg.
  • Aim for 10-15 reps with each leg.

Shoulder Rolls

Working at a desk can cause neck, shoulder, and arm stiffness. This exercise will help loosen up stiff shoulders and arms.

  • Sit straight up in your chair.
  • Relax your shoulders, keeping them straight down.
  • Start rotating your shoulders in a circular motion, going as far back, up, forward, and down as you can.
  • Do for 10 repetitions, then reverse direction, going forward, up, back, and down.

Toe Raises

While most of these exercises can be done sitting down, this one requires standing. Just like the leg lifts, it helps increase your circulation. However, since you’re using more of your body weight, it’s more beneficial for strengthening your leg muscles.

  • While standing at your desk, raise your feet so you’re standing on your tippy toes.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

Core Rotations

Core strengthening helps you improve your stability and balance. It also helps prevent back pain, improves respiratory function and weight distribution, and helps prevent muscle injury – in addition to providing a host of other health benefits.

  • Raise your arms straight out, and close your fists.
  • Bring your hands together until your knuckles are touching each other.
  • Rotate your torso from side to side, keeping your arms locked in place.
  • Make sure your arms remain still – you want to rotate at your torso.
  • Repeat 10-15 times on each side.

Chair rolls

There are few exercises you can do at your desk that will offer you muscle strengthening (short of pulling out hand weights or doing full on push-ups). This exercise uses your chair and your body weight to create resistance and increase your body strength.

  • Holding the edge of the desk, push your chair in as close as you comfortably can.
  • Lift your legs straight out.
  • Push your chair away from your desk, with your legs still raised.
  • Use your feet to pull your chair back in.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.
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Prioritize your health

Doctor Checking Blood Pressure of a Woman

As with many others, you may find it difficult to prioritize your health amongst the many competing demands of a busy lifestyle. That’s why it’s up to you to make the conscious choice to slow down, take inventory on your health, and find ways to make improvements. The first place to start is with your annual physical. One simple visit to your doctor each year can be the most important thing you do for your health, and in most cases, it’s completely covered by insurance. The annual exam can catch health issues, such as diabetes and cancer, in the early stages, giving you a much better chance at beating them down. Make a point of calling your doctor today and putting a wellness visit on your calendar. It’s a great first step to prioritizing your health.

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Every step counts

Two business women walking up staircase in office building, elevated view

Many of us spend a good deal of our waking hours sitting at desks – often for longer than a normal 40-hour week. It may even seem like work has become a major obstacle to getting regular exercise. However, there are always ways to squeeze in fitness time, and every little bit really does count. For instance, instead of emailing, calling, or chatting a coworker, take the “old-fashioned” approach and actually walk to their location. And, we’ve all heard this before, but take the stairs instead of the elevator. The resulting calories burned and the muscle strength built, are well worth the effort.

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Eat your veggies

Woman wearing apron slicing a variety of colorful vegetables

With all the vitamin supplements and nutrition products on the market, it can be difficult to make nutrition choices. However, the truth is, eating five or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day is still your best bet for getting optimal nutrition. In addition, eating your veggies won’t break the bank, like so many vitamin products can. If after eating real food for optimum nutrition, you still want to take a supplement, know that all supplements are not created equal. Select only vitamins that have been evaluated by a third party laboratory to ensure the contents in the bottle match the claims on the label.