Editor's Note: Maimonides writes: "Maintaining a healthy and sound body is among the ways of G‑d's service, for one cannot understand or have any knowledge of the Creator if he is ill."1 And considering that exercise is especially beneficial in difficult and pressure-filled times, we offer here some useful exercising tips.

More than eight hundred years ago, the great Jewish scholar, philosopher, leader and physician Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides) wrote:2

As long as a person exercises and exerts himself . . . illness will not befall him and his strength will increase. . . . But one who sits idle and does not exercise . . . even if he maintains a healthy diet and other habits, he will be perennially ill and his strength will diminish.

Consider that Maimonides wrote these words at a time when basic daily life unavoidably entailed a significant degree of physical activity. Just the fact that people didn't have cars made a huge difference. Yet Maimonides advises that people get additional exercise as well. How much more so must we be conscious to deliberately get our share of physical activity when we live in a technologically advanced world where we are barely required to use our bodies at all.

Here are two simple exercises that you can use to begin incorporating some movement into an otherwise sedentary lifestyle.

Leg Lifts

While seated at your desk, lift your feet from the floor, straighten your legs at the knees, and hold them out in front of you. Hold it for a while. Release. Repeat. This is good for the large muscles in your upper legs. For your calves, raise your feet up on your tiptoes, hold them in that position, then lower them. Feel yourself contracting your calf muscles each time. Since there is no actual resistance (other than a bit of gravity), you have to consciously work the muscles. Both of these leg exercises will increase circulation in your lower body, which is very important for general health.

Side Stretches

Side stretches are an easy exercise to do while seated right at your desk. With arms raised above your head, slowly lean over to each side. Do this several times on each side, then switch it up by doing the same movements again but with your hands on your hips. Be careful to make sure your chair is stable. This simple stretch can increase blood flow and actually make you want to exercise more. Try it whenever you are reading documents on your computer, or while on a conference call.