Are you guilty of the “I don’t have time to exercise” excuse? If you are like most people, you probably use that excuse frequently, especially if you work a full-time job. To give you credit, it can be difficult to get exercise in when you feel like you are always working.
However, working a job does not need to limit your time for exercise, especially since there are many ways to be active at work.
Simple At-Work Exercises
Why not kill two birds with one stone? Instead of simply deciding that you cannot exercise because you have no time to go to the gym before or after work, get some of your exercise done while you are at work! While this is no complete substitute for a complete workout, these exercises can help you to stay active while working, especially if you have a more sedentary career.
Even getting in just a little bit more movement each day can significantly improve your health. Plus, getting your blood flowing at work can help you to be more energetic, creative and productive as well.
There are many simple exercises that can be done at the office. Here are just a few of the most popular exercises you can do in between tasks:
60-second aerobics: Studies have shown that even just one full minute of aerobic exercise can be good for your heart’s health, so even if you can only get a few minutes of exercise in while working, it is much better than nothing. Make it a goal to do one or more of the following for 60 seconds:
- Jumping jacks.
- High-knees in place.
- Simulating jumping rope.
You can complete one or two of those exercises in the privacy of your office if you have one, or feel free to amuse your coworkers by doing them in the hallway or break room. You may even get a few of them to join you!
At-desk exercises: There are also a lot of exercises that can be done while sitting at your desk as well. These include:
- Rapidly tapping your feet on the floor, like a football-drill. (Aim to do this for approximately 30 – 60 seconds.)
- Pumping your arms above your head, making sure that your hands almost touch your shoulders when they come down. (Go for at least 30 pumps.)
- Lift both feet off of the floor and keep your legs straight while engaging your abdominal muscles. (See how long you can go and challenge yourself to improve your time each day.)
Stretching: Want to ease stress and improve posture and flexibility? Try stretching exercises at your desk. This may include the following:
- Sitting up straight, move your arms backwards as if you are trying to have your shoulder blades touch. Hold this position, relax and repeat.
- Sitting tall in your chair, raise both of your arms over your head. After a few seconds, raise your right hand a little bit higher, and then your left.
- Sit forward, then turn your head to the right and your torso to the left. Hold this position for a few seconds, then alternate sides.
Take the Stairs
In addition to the easy exercises you can do while sitting at your desk or in your office, there are also a few other ways that you can easily incorporate more exercise into your work day. For one, skip the elevator and take the stairs instead.
Office on the 50th floor? Take the stairs for a few floors, then take the elevator the rest of the way up.
Also, try to get more walking in while you are at the office. Instead of emailing a coworker each time you need something, walk to their cubicle or office to communicate with them. Or, simply get up and walk through the halls every hour or so. You can also commit to parking in a parking spot that is further away than usual so that you get those steps in almost effortlessly.
Change Your Sitting Situation
Countless studies have found that especially on a chair that does not provide much back support, can be very harmful for your body. It has been shown that sitting for long periods of time is linked to a number of health concerns such as obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and abnormal cholesterol levels. Prolonged sitting may also increase your risk of death from cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer as well.
However, you should keep in mind that if your job requires you to sit for hours every day, it is not the end of the world. There are a variety of different options you may consider that can significantly reduce the harmful effects you may face from too much sitting.
As an example, you can simply incorporate more exercise into your daily routine by following the at-work exercise tips listed above. Research has shown that those who had 60 to 75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity were able to completely counter the effects of prolonged sitting. Therefore, if you are more active, it will counter the negative consequences of sitting for long periods of time.
Although exercise can help you to stay healthy even if you must sit at a desk for a long time each day, you should also know that there are other options you can consider to improve your health at work as well. For example, why not ditch the chair completely?
- Switch to an exercise ball chair. There are so many different options available, and it can drastically improve your core strength and your posture! Plus, you can even use it to help you get a few workouts in. Even just bouncing around on it for a while can help inspire creative thoughts and burn a few calories as well.
- Use a standing desk. A standing desk, or a riser that is used to lift up your computer, can be very beneficial because it allows you to stand at your desk to get work done. This completely eliminates the chair and also any back or hip pain you may experience from sitting all day. (However, keep in mind that if you are used to sitting for prolonged periods of time, it is a good idea to slowly transition into using a standing desk so that you do not cause any feet or other problems to flare up from the drastic change.)
Those are just a few of the options available if you are interested in ditching the standard office chair. You may also benefit from getting a chair that provides you with adequate amounts of support if you want to continue using a regular chair while you work.
Altogether, even making small changes each day such as incorporating a few at-your-desk exercises, sitting less and taking the stairs can make a big change in your health. After a few weeks of being consistent with those changes, you may find that you are more productive at work and you have more energy as well.
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