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7 easy exercises nurses can do at work
Sneak in a few minutes of activity each day to help prevent injury
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By James F. Ross, PT, DPT, CSCS
EDITOR'S NOTE: James F. Ross, PT, DPT, CSCS, is clinical editorial director of continuing education for physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech language pathology.
As healthcare professionals we know the importance and the benefits of exercise and recognize it is something we all should do regularly. However, there are reasons why we just don’t do it; some real, some not so much.
For some, smaller bursts of exercise work better than hitting the gym or jumping on the treadmill for an hour. Here are a few simple exercises you can do right at your chair at work. Sneak in a few minutes of activity each day (these take only 5-10 minutes) to help prevent injury. Make sure your chair is secure and won’t roll around or you'll make these exercises more dangerous than being inactive!
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Finally, don’t forget to use the stairs and not the elevator throughout the day. And take a brisk 10- to 15-minute walk during your break or at lunch. The key is to do something every day. A little exercise is better than none!
Seated chair dips - Sit in your chair with an upright posture and your palms placed squarely on the arms of the chair. Using your legs as little as possible for assistance, push down onto the arms of the chair to lift your body off of the seat and slowly return to the start position. Be sure to maintain a good posture while doing the exercise. Try to work yourself up to 10-15 reps for two sets.

Butt-kickers - Stand behind your chair with your feet about shoulder width apart, while resting your hands lightly on the chair back. While maintaining an upright posture, slowly alternate bending your knees and bringing your heel to your butt. Do two sets of 15-20 reps.
Chair squats - Stand behind your chair with your feet about shoulder-width apart, while resting your hands lightly on the chair back. While maintaining a good posture in your spine, bend your knees to about 90 degrees (or chair height) and return to upright position. Do two sets of 15-20 reps.

Standing toe raises - Stand behind your chair with your feet about shoulder-width apart, while resting your hands lightly on the chair back. Keep your knees straight, tighten your gluts and abs to engage your core. Raise yourself up onto your toes and slowly lower yourself back down. You also can do these with your knees slightly bent. A couple sets of 15-20 reps should do the trick.

Seated arm circles - Sit in your chair in an upright posture and raise your arms in front of you to 90 degrees. Slowly rotate in small circles clockwise for 20 rotations, then counter-clockwise for 20. Next, bring your arms out to your sides and raise them to about 90 degrees (like a “T”). Slowly rotate in small circles clockwise for 20 rotations, then counter-clockwise for 20.

Seated shoulder rolls - Sit in your chair in an upright posture and slowly roll your shoulders forward 15-20 times and then reverse direction for 15-20 reps.
Chair marches - Stand behind your chair with your feet about shoulder width apart, while resting your hands lightly on the chair back. While maintaining an upright posture, alternate lifting your knees up to your meet your arms and slowly lower to the starting position. Do two sets of 15-20 reps.

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