Even if your office offers lunchtime yoga classes for employees, it feels impossible to get away from your desk to show up on the mat. Eight hours of inactivity breeds more inactivity and even though hunching over your desk all day makes your body ache, it is hard to find the motivation to get a desperately needed release via exercise.

Fortunately, there’s an easier way to workout at work. Check out these quick exercises to get your body and mind in shape while on the job.

1. Relaxing Your Shoulders and Upper Back

Use these exercises to soothe problem areas in your shoulders and upper back:

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Remain seated in your chair, sitting straight up with your legs and feet together. Engage your abs and extend your arms straight out in front of you, keeping them at shoulder level. Keep your palms facing down. Slowly draw your shoulder blades back and together; then, relax. Repeat five times.

Straight Arm Stretch

Scoot to the edge of your chair and sit with your feet and legs together. Sit up tall and engage your abdominal muscles. Extend your arms out long behind you, keeping your palms facing in.

Squeeze your arms in to touch the back of your chair. Complete 10 reps and hold the last rep. Then, move your arms up and down one inch, keeping your palms facing in. Complete 10 reps and rest.

2. Strengthening and Toning Your Arms

Use these exercises to build lean muscle and burn fat in your arms:

Tricep Dips

Remain seated in your chair. Make your way to the front of your chair so that your hands are on the edge of the chair with your fingers pointed forward. Walk your feet out so that you are sitting in a chair position, using the desk chair for support. These areas will feel particularly sore if you’ve been working for a moving company, lifting heavy things, or even just sitting at a desk typing all day.

Bend your elbows and lower your body down several inches. Raise yourself back to start without locking your elbows. You should feel the muscles at the back of your arms engage with each movement. Repeat 20 times.

3. Stretching Your Legs and Hips

Check out these exercises for stretching your legs while burning fat and building lean muscle:

Second Position

Stand up next to your desk, leaving one hand on the end of the desk. Spread your legs wide until you reach the second position ballet stance. Lower your body down in a controlled motion. Keep your torso upright and avoid leaning forward. Begin to pulse up and down, moving a few inches at a time.

Repeat 30 to 60 times returning to the top of second position only after all reps are completed.

Leg Curls

Stand up next to your chair, placing your right hand on the left side of the chair. Stand with your feet together and engage your abs.

Begin by bending your left knee so that it is parallel to the floor. Then, place a pen behind your knee. Continue holding the chair, flex your left foot and then, curl your left heel up towards your bottom. Complete five reps.

On the fifth rep, hold the curl before pressing the left leg backwards for 5 reps. Repeat the circuit a second time before switching legs.

Standing Hip Opener

Stand up behind your desk chair with your right hand resting on the back of the chair. Place your left hand behind your head with your elbow pointing away from your body. Raise your right heel then bend your left knee. Lift your right knee out to the side, stopping at hip level. Repeat 20 times before changing legs.

Repeat the sequence on both legs one more time.

Complete all these exercises for 10 minutes of bliss that will bump up your productivity and relieve tension. You don’t even need to leave your desk!

Featured photo credit: Lindsay via flickr.com

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