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But that's not true. The basics stay the same no matter what your position; a body in motion is a body that's burning calories. So, if you can take a few breaks during the day, there are plenty of small workouts you can fit in at work or at any desk.
One of the easiest, and least likely to be seen by a prowling manager, is the shoulder squeeze. Roll your shoulders back a few times, and leave them in a down and relaxed position. Then, raise arms out to side at shoulder height, with elbows bent and hands forward. Bring both elbows back to squeeze the shoulder blades, then extend and straighten arms all the way forward. Alternate the shoulder squeeze and arm extension 10-15 times. This will provide a light workout for your back and neck muscles. And if coupled with a cheeky yawn, it can look like a simple stretch break.
Then there's the shoulder roll. Another simple, subtle workout. Sit with your feet shoulder-width apart. (You can also do this exercise standing, which gives you a chance for a quick stretch, too.) Roll your shoulders up, then back, and then down in a smooth, circular motion. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
The next workout is a simple leg extension, but a bit harder to cover up if you have a boss that's not conducive to your workout. You extend one leg out straight in front of you and hold it for two seconds. As high as you can and squeezing with moderate strength. Fifteen reps on each leg should help.
Then there's the double leg raise. Remaining seated, extend your legs and reach toward your toes. Hold for 20 seconds. To help you balance, sit as far back in your chair as you can. And if your legs still tilt down toward the carpet, don't worry; as you get stronger you';l be able to hold this position longer.
And as for an exercise that can basically be done in perpetuity, take a tennis ball and keep it at your desk for sporadic use during the workday. Take off your shoes and put the ball under one foot at a time. Gently roll the ball under and around with your foot to stretch out the balls of your feet, roll and stretch your ankles and use various pressure to roll the ball forward and back to stretch out the soft tissue in your foot (called the fascia, which you've probably heard before from conditions like plantar fasciitis, when the soft tissue that runs from the toes to the heels gets stiff and makes walking painful).
There's plenty of ways, especially if you get creative and throw in your own workouts, that you can burn calories throughout the day. As was stated earlier; a body in motion is a body burning calories.