10 Ways To Stay Active At The Office
BY LUCY D'AGUILAR, FIT & EATS
Apr 12, 2017
Okay, so I don’t have an office job, but I do know that our bodies are designed to move. Sadly — and this is not a secret — many of us spend the majority of our day sitting at a desk, behind a computer screen or on the phone. With the average day job being eight hours long, we also sit on our commute to work, sit down for an evening meal and following the kiddies' bedtime, we sit down in front of the TV or read a book. That being said, we probably spend at least 10 hours (maybe even 12 hours) a day sitting down — that's a staggering amount of time, right? Even if we exercise for one hour, three days a week, we would struggle to counteract the effects of having a desk job.
We probably all know there are many dangers associated with sitting down for too long, but in my mind the biggest risks are heart disease and Type 2 diabetes — both of which are influenced by our lifestyles. When you sit down for extended periods of time, blood flows slower and muscles burn less fat, making it easier for fatty acids to clog your heart leading to heart disease. Extended sitting also reduces your body’s ability to respond to insulin. Not only that, but exercise has a direct relationship with productivity, so your boss should love you if you exercise more!
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When you exercise, you are increasing blood flow to the brain, meaning that you are more alert, can stay focused on a task and can think clearly. After a good workout (even a 5-minute workout) your body fills up with happy hormones fuelling you to work harder. Another way it relates to productivity is it improves your mental health. Exercising increases your production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that sends messages to the body to stimulate mood and emotion. So exercise helps you deal better with stress, therefore improving your relationships at work and how you cope with the pressures of the office.
Okay, blah, blah, blah, I hear you say, science part over! Now tell me what to do! The best thing you can do is try to stay as active as you can during your day job.
Get Up For 10 Minutes Every Hour
This could include going to fill your water bottle, taking a lap of the office, walking to see a coworker or even standing up to take a phone call.
Take The Stairs, Not The Elevator
This one is simple — get walking up the stairs! Make enough time in the morning so it doesn't make you late for work. There are always stairs available (it's usually the fire escape route).
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Sit Smarter, Sit On A Stability Ball Or Invest In A Standing Desk
Now I realize the standing desk isn't an easy option, but it doesn't hurt checking with the boss, right? Companies are starting to budget for employee health as it saves them money in the long run. Sitting on a stability ball can really help with your posture and helping to keep your body engaged whilst working. If that isn't an option either then sitting smarter is the way forward. When sitting place both feet flat on the ground, hip width apart. Sit towards the front of your seat so you do not rely on the back rest. Sit tall with a neutral spine (slight arch in the base of your spine) and shoulders back and down.
Bring Your Workout To The Office
Here are some great exercises you can do at your desk. You can complete 60 seconds of each exercise with a 30 second rest in between to give you a total of 10 minutes for one workout. Do It as many times as you can throughout the day or split it up into sections, doing 2-3 rounds of two exercises for a more varied day.
- Chair/air squat
- Desk pushup
- Standing heel raises with leg abduction
- Desk mountain climb with kickback
- Seated bycicle
- Squat to push off
- Plank with rotation
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