1. Take Timed Breaks
We’re all guilty of it. You’re focused on the task at hand, completely engrossed in your latest project and you don’t realize how much time goes by. That is until you can’t turn your neck, your back is stiff, and you feel your shoulders slouching. Don’t let too much time pass without some form of movement. Set a timer on your phone, computer, or smartwatch that gets you up and moving every 15-30 minutes. Even if you have to walk laps around your cubicle or take a stroll to the bathroom, any movement is better than none. Fitness trackers are great for this too. Most are equipped with alerts that tell you when you’ve been sedentary for too long. Pay attention to these queues. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you need to get moving.
2. Walk Off Your Lunch
Walking is a great form of exercise for so many reasons. Not only is it low-intensity but it does a great job of getting your heart rate up, your legs and arms moving, and is conducive to people of all ages and abilities. There are several ways you can incorporate walking into your daily office routine. If your lunch is followed by a short break, take that time to walk and burn off some of those calories. If your lunch break is short, make time for a quick walk after or during. Handheld snacks and sandwiches can easily be eaten on the go. If you’re going out for lunch, walk there instead of driving. And, of course, choose a healthy option as your meal.
3. Trade In Your Desk Chair
Did you know that you can actually do something that’s good for your body and health while sitting at your desk? It’s true! Trade in that desk chair for an exercise ball. Sitting on an exercise ball promotes movement by allowing you to bounce slightly, rock, and move freely. But it also forces you to engage your core and abdominal muscles to achieve stability. You’ll also become more aware of your posture. You can discover more here about the added benefits of using an exercise ball at your desk. If you have a standing desk (more on that later), consider using an ergonomic balancing board. These boards may prove difficult for some users but they’ll definitely strengthen your core and improve balance.
4. Find a Buddy
Sometimes, a little motivation is all you need. Why not find a fellow coworker who cares about health and fitness as much as you do? Not only can you encourage each other to get up and move, but you can do it together. Grab your friend before or after your lunch break and take a walk. Park together in the company lot and take the stairs versus the elevator. You can even park your cars at the farthest end of the parking lot, making your walk into the office a mini-workout in itself! Just be sure to leave together at the end of the night to ensure safety. But on those days when you’re feeling unmotivated or extra tired, your work buddy can help give you that boost of encouragement you need to keep going. Accountability is key for long-term success.
If you’re unable to walk during office hours, that doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate movement into your daily routine. Stretching at your desk is easy, convenient, and just as important as burning calories through regular exercise. Stretching helps keep your body flexible, your muscles warm and active, and prevents injury. Just like you set a timer for periodic movement, set a timer for stretching. Get up at your desk and perform some basic moves. Things like reaching down to touch your toes, placing your arms across the front of your body, and performing head rotations will you keep your body limber and flexible while also giving you an instant boost of energy.
6. Invest in a Standing Desk
Some people just work better standing up. Others have a hard time sitting still. And for some, a standing desk offers the opportunity for constant movement. Standing desks are exactly what they sound like — a desk that allows you to adjust the height of your work space. This means you won’t find yourself hunched over your computer or feeling numbness and tingling in your tailbone and feet from sitting for too long. If your office allows it, request or invest in a standing desk. You can more freely move around, tap your feet while you work (just be mindful of nearby coworkers), shift back and forth or stretch and move while you work. Standing may also help you feel more alert and focused.
7. Take Your Calls on the Go
Conference calls are part of most people’s job descriptions. And you may find yourself strapped to your desk or chair making endless phone calls. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Invest in a headset or take your calls on your cell phone. This way, you can move around while also being productive. This holds true for work meetings as well. If you and a coworker have to confer on a project or issue, instead of doing it at a conference desk, chat while you walk. You’d be surprised at how much activity you can achieve while talking. That hour will be much better spent as you stroll around your office than if you remained stationary. And you’ll be completing your work at the same time. It’s a win-win.
8. Find a Nearby Gym
If you’re lucky enough to work in a facility that has its own gym, take advantage of it. Most workplace gyms are equipped with a locker room and shower. This makes working out before or after work easy and convenient. Pack your bag the night before and bring along any work clothes or items you need. If your office doesn’t have it’s own workout facility, do some research and find one nearby. This way, you can exercise on your way to the office or when your day is done. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when it comes to exercise is the endless list of excuses your mind will try to use on you. Don’t let them win! Eliminate excuses by making time for yourself and your health.
Where there’s a will there’s a way. Just because you work in an office doesn’t mean your fitness or physical health need to suffer. Find creative ways to incorporate movement and activity into your daily routine. Before long, they’ll become second nature and you’ll quickly feel the benefits of living a healthy, active lifestyle.