Wellness | Let's Get Physical: Office Edition
By: Christina Rico, Health Coach & Personal Trainer
If you came across this article while checking your Facebook on a quick work break at the office, chances are you are sitting down. In fact, if you do work in an office setting, there is a good chance that you are confined to a chair at the desk for several hours straight every day. Unfortunately, more and more research indicates that sitting for extended periods of time can wreak havoc on your health. The lack of movement that millions of people experience at their office jobs has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, poor posture and decreased joint mobility.
The good news is that you are not doomed if your job requires you to be glued to your desk for multiple hours a day. It does not require much effort to increase your physical activity at work. Minor movements and exercises can boast numerous benefits such as improving your focus, increasing creativity and boosting productivity. If you are feeling a bit sluggish, you can either make time for a quick workout or follow these simple tips below so you can get moving at work and avoid being a desk potato.
1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
If your office is above the first floor, walk the stairs instead of using the elevator. Stair climbing burns calories and is a great way to add movement to your day. You have to get to your office somehow, so you might as well contribute to your total physical activity time by taking the stairs.
2. Leave your desk to refill your water bottle.
Keep your body hydrated and get moving by taking a trip down the hall to refill your water as needed throughout the day. Don’t have a water bottle to refill? Invest in one! Plus, when you increase your water consumption, you will be visiting the restroom more often, which means you will have to get up and walk there!
3. Take a five-minute walking break every hour.
Make a point to get up and take a quick walking break every hour. Sitting for extended periods of time causes your hip flexors to tighten and shorten. This may eventually cause stiffness, discomfort and decreased mobility. Set an alarm to go on a short walk every hour so you can offset the effects of prolonged sitting. Taking a short walking break will also give you a moment to breathe and refresh your mind.
4. Get out of your chair and stand up.
Some jobs demand that you stay at your desk to talk on the phone and hold meetings. Sneak in some movement by standing up while you are on the phone. If your schedule is packed with meetings, take a quick minute to stand up, stretch, or march in place between appointments. Any movement is better than no movement at all—even if it is only for a few seconds.
5. Perform exercises at your desk.
There are numerous exercises that can be done in the comfort of your own office. Make it a habit to perform a round of air squats, incline push-ups using your desk, or dips on the chair, every hour!
6. Workout on your lunch break.
Maximize your lunchtime by sneaking in a quick workout before you sit down to eat. You do not need any equipment to work up a good sweat and torch some serious calories. If your office has an onsite gym, that’s an added bonus. Dedicate 20 minutes of your lunch hour to exercise—you won’t regret it!
Your job may require you to be bound to a chair for hours on end, but now you can sneak some physical activity into your routine with little effort. Any of these minor movements will contribute to your total exercise time each day, and your body will reap the benefits. The human body was built to move, so quit being a desk potato, and start moving!