Raise your hand if you've ever left working feeling stiff & achy! Fortunately for us at Envision Sport, we are moving around regularly because of the nature of our work (physical therapy and Pilates), but if you work an office job, chances are you are confined to your desk for 9 hours a day. Well, research shows that those of us that are stuck at our desk day in and day out are more likely to experience injuries and other health related problems such as poor circulation, back and shoulder pain, and even heart disease. So what can you do? Move!
Some of you may have noticed that as of recently, the workplace is shifting. Employers have recognized the importance of physical activity for their employees and have implemented programs to help. For example, Google headquarters in Mountain View incorporated a gym into their office for their employees to use at their leisure. Other companies encourage their employees to get a FitBit or a similar device and have friendly office competitions. Although your company may not be on board just yet, you have the opportunity to start shaping your own workplace to be fitness-friendly!
Finding ways to move from your desk throughout the day can be difficult but no impossible!
Here are some tips to help keep you moving throughout the day:
Set an alarm to get up and stretch – Have you ever been sitting at your desk, busily at work and noticed HOURS have passed? If time tends to escape you, set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and stretch every hour. Let the blood flow and get moving!
Walk at lunch – It’s easy to stay in the office all day, but why stay in when you can go out, especially here in beautiful Southern California! Unless you live in an area where the elements don’t allow you, take some time at your lunch to get out and walk around. Whether it’s around the building, to a nearby restaurant, or a nearby shopping mall, enjoy a 20 minute walk and stretch your legs. Invite your co-workers to join you!
Change your posture and position – Did you know that most individuals experiencing lower back pain are sitting at a desk most of the day ? We are all guilty of slouching throughout the day at our desks. As time drags on, we get lazy and totally disregard our posture. Set up cues to adjust your posture such as every email you receive or every time you have to open a certain program.
Stand, don’t sit! – Think about the last time you had to stand for any given period of time. Chances are, it wasn’t as long as you the time you had to sit at work. If you can or if you have a standing desk, switch off between standing and sitting throughout your day. Mix it up!
Take a lap around the office – Have a few different printers in your office but find yourself always going to the closest one? Switch up your routine and go to the furthest printer. Finding yourself dozing off or daydreaming? Take a quick lap around the office and get yourself moving again!
Set up a pedometer – Whether it’s an old school device that clips to your pants or a fancy high-tech watch, set up a pedometer or daily step goals. When you have a goal to hit, you’ll find yourself finding excuses to get up and walk.
Use the stairs instead of the elevator – It becomes part of your daily routine to use the elevator because, well, it’s easy! Schedule a few more minutes into your commute and instead of heading straight to the elevator, find the stairs for a change of pace. If you can’t make it all the way up (13 floors starts to seem like a lot), take the elevator halfway up and the stairs the rest or vice versa.
Instead of emailing someone in the office, walk over to talk to them – Anyone else guilty of sending an email (or text message) to someone in the office directly next to yours? If it can be commuted via an in-person conversation, go to their office. Not only are you getting in some extra steps and moving from your seat, you’re also getting some much needed human interaction that we can all afford more of!
Find exercises to do when waiting for something to print or fax – While waiting for your document to print or information to fax, find some easy exercises to do like calf raises (aka standing heel raises); or work on your balance. It’s only a few minutes but is worth it!
Get a desk elliptical – You read that correctly – there are such things as a desk elliptical. If it fits under your desk without bashing your knees into the desk top, consider getting one. They do get your legs moving! You just need to be careful of your posture.
Stand during meetings – We’ve all done it. File into a meeting and find a seat. Instead of sitting, start off standing. Offer your seat up to someone else. If your legs get tired, go ahead and take a seat, but any time standing is better than sitting the entire time.
Select a workout/accountability buddy – Someone in your office is likely to have similar goal to you! Help encourage each other to get moving and hold one another accountable. Set goals together and turn it into a competition if that helps.
So who's ready to get moving? Do your body a favor and start slowly by implementing one thing at a time into your daily routine. Sooner or later, your colleagues will join in and you could even be designated the workplace fitness liaison!
The Washington Post, "The health hazards of sitting" by Bonnie Berkowitz and Patterson Clark, January 20, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/apps/g/page/national/the-health-hazards-of-sitting/750/
Business Insider, "Tour Google's Luxurious 'Googleplex' Campus In California" by Jule Bort, October 6, 2013, https://www.businessinsider.com/google-hq-office-tour-2013-10
Mashable, "7 companies with amazingly unique wellness programs" by Lindsay Rothfeld, May 15, 2015, https://mashable.com/2015/05/15/unique-corporate-wellness-programs/#EsvIoNy2QEqk