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"It's just like a vehicle. If you let your car sit in the driveway for 10 years and don't move it, it's going to start to fall apart," said Lynn Cross, fitness trainer at Mademoiselle Figure and Fitness in Oklahoma City. "When we sit all day, our body starts to atrophy, and what happens is we just lose all of our muscle tone, our joints become unprotected, we start to have shoulder pain and lower back pain." The good news is that you can fit fitness into your work schedule without compromising your job. John Robinson, owner of Balanced Fitness in Oklahoma City, says if you can fit 15 minutes of " deskercise" into your routine five times a week, you can tone your body within six weeks. And you don't have to do it all at once, he said. You can grab little bits of activity here and there; as long as they add up, you're still getting the benefits. "You're not going to be entering muscle contests, but you can tone your body," he said. The really good news: Robinson said you can tone your abs just by sitting and standing with the proper posture. "Watch your posture as you're walking and as you're sitting down and getting up," he said. "Just kind of drawing in your abs, heightening and tightening your abs, can strengthen them. Most of us slump when we sit, we slump when we stand, we slump when we walk." So, when can you steal a few moments out of your workday for exercise? â†’You can start with your commute. If you live close enough, walk or ride a bike to work. Unfortunately, most Oklahomans don't have that luxury. But you can park in the outfield of your company parking lot to increase your day's walk. â†’Stand up as much as possible. During your work day, instead of calling or instant-messaging your co-workers for communication, walk over to their desks. Even short bursts of movement count. â†’Take fitness breaks throughout the day instead of taking coffee and snack breaks. Walk up stairs. That will get your blood flowing and add to your daily exercise tally. â†’Organize a lunchtime walking group. Exercising in a group is a great way to stay motivated, especially if you're competitive. And, a lunchtime jaunt will make you more productive in the afternoon. Just don some sensible shoes before you go. â†’Eat light during the day. A brisk lunchtime walk is meaningless if it's followed by a thousand-calorie fast food splurge. Several mini-meals of fruits, vegetables and proteins combined with physical activity throughout the day are the keys to kick-starting your metabolism. "Food is the fuel to your body," Cross said. "If you eat five to six small, healthy things a day and get up and move, that's what's going to increase your metabolic rate, the rate at which you burn calories. "Even if you're just sitting at your desk, just doing some calf raises, just a few little exercises ... that' s going to increase your metabolism." The exercises shown on these pages are some of Cross' favorite " deskercises," which you can try today. Oblique Side Bends Sitting upright in your chair, place your hands one on top of the other and rest them behind your head. Pull your tummy in tight. Twist to the right and bend over until left elbow touches your right knee. Come back to starting position. Twist to the left and bend over until your right elbow touches your left knee.
You can exercise at your desk, too
Finding time to work out can be a challenge in today's hectic world. And if you have a desk job, sitting all day can make it even more important to get your exercise. Sedentary hours each day can have negative effects on your body.