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3 Mini-Workouts to Try at Work to Help You De-Stress and Stay Fit

As a provider, you sit and stand a lot. While you’re counseling your patients to get active, it’s easy to forget about your own fitness and slip into sedentary habits that undermine your health. Here

As clinicians, we stand a lot. Yet, even when counseling our patient’s on the importance of exercise, it’s easy to forget about our physical fitness and slip into sedentary habits that undermine our health. Research shows that even small amounts of activity throughout the day can improve alertness, muscle tone, metabolic parameters, reduce stress, and help you maintain or even lose weight.  

Here are three great mini-workouts to use throughout the day:

1) Yoga Stretches 

After every patient interview ends, put down the paperwork, find a quiet room, close the door, and choose from a few relaxing poses:

  • Mountain Pose: Stand with your feet slightly apart, shoulders relaxed, chest high, and arms hanging. Take in a slow breath, raising your arms above your head with your palms facing each other. Reach up, hold, and release slowly.
  • Triangle Pose: Stand with your feet about three feet apart. The toes of your right foot should be at 90 degrees and your left foot at 45 degrees. Extend your arms straight out to your sides, and lean from your hips toward the right side so your right hand can rest on your right ankle or calf. Turn your head to look up at your left hand and reach upward. Hold for five slow breaths. Return to standing and repeat on the other side.
  • Child’s Pose: First, lay a towel or mat on the floor. Get down on your knees and lean forward slowly with your arms stretched above your head. Collapse your whole body down over your knees until your face is almost on the ground. Breathe into this pose for one to two minutes. Repeat as often as you like!

2) Walking and Stair Climbing 

Reintroducing walking into your day is a great way to relieve stress. Start by getting an app that counts your steps, pedometer, or fitness band, to find out just how many steps you take in an average day. After that, set a goal and improve on it. The recommended number of daily steps is 10,000, but this is somewhat arbitrary. If you’re doing 4,000 now, aim for 6,000; if you’re already doing 10,000, go higher.

Taking quick five-minute walking breaks two to three times daily can help you increase your step totals. You can also increase your walking opportunities throughout the day by:

  • Parking farther from entrances
  • Taking the stairs instead of elevators
  • Taking the longest route wherever you go
  • Pacing while you’re on the phone

3) Dance Breaks

You might consider closing the door if you’re a bit shy or think your dance moves are awkward. If not, keep that break room door open, and maybe some others will join in! At least twice daily, pop in your earbuds and dance to one song. Dancing is a four-in-one de-stressor that: 

  • Increases your heart rate
  • Tones your muscles
  • Burns calories
  • Shifts your focus away from stressors

Doing the sprinkler, or even the Dougie, can keep you happier, healthier, and in a better mind frame to help your patients. 

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