Working Out at Work

Even if you have a desk job, this doesn’t mean your workout needs to wait until the end of the day at the gym.

Sitting all day can affect both your mental and physical health, even if you follow a regular exercise routine. Prolonged sedentary behavior puts people at greater risk of back pain, headaches, obesity, heart disease, kidney disease and even cancer.

Brief activity throughout the day can help improve your health without causing you to break a sweat. It can also ease the brain fog that can occur after your morning coffee wears off. You can work with fellow employees to make office exercise a priority; mark activity down in a daily agenda so it becomes part of the regular routine.

Below are some tips on what you can do as an individual and as an office to keep active throughout the day:

  • Stretch before you sit down at your desk, on your lunch break or whenever you can. Work the muscles that are most relaxed throughout the day—especially your legs and back.
  • Stand for your meetings. There’s no rule that everyone needs to sit at meetings. Start with some fun music and stretch out with your co-workers before getting down to business.  Some offices even have standing meetings in which a medicine ball is passed around. The energy shared in the room can extend attention span and lead to more productive dialog – as well as shorten those long-winded speeches!
  • Stand at your desk or during phone calls. If you’re lucky, you might be able to do this with ease by having an adjustable desk to raise your computer to waist height. If you are in an environment where using a speaker phone is acceptable, take every advantage of this and pace while you listen and talk. Wireless headsets are now more affordable than ever and can make this a realistic option.
  • Bring your own gym. This doesn’t mean you need a full set of barbells. You can bring ankle or strap-weights to work and get short-range exercises in while you read reports or listen in on conference calls. Spring hand-grips can fit in your drawer and be used  whenever you have the chance. Do a few squats and/or bicep curls in between calls or tasks.
  • Walk it off. Don’t be afraid to park farther away and enjoy the fresh air and a short walk to the front door. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. 
  • Log your exercise. Carry a pedometer and count your daily steps. Post a chart on your bulletin board for logging your activity.
  • Help from your friends. Getting office mates involved and creating a friendly competition can benefit everyone. A weekly or monthly prize for winners can create extra incentive.

If you develop back pain, headaches or other conditions despite your best efforts to be active at work, a physical therapist can help you overcome the pain. Contact Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network to request an appointment.

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