This guest post is by fitness consultant and freelance health writer Claire Morgan, who wishes to share her tips for getting more exercise at work.
Millions of us have office jobs and spend most of our time sitting down. Sitting all day and not moving your body is bad for your health and it can even affect your focus levels at work. If you get your body moving and blood flowing you will increase the oxygen levels in your brain and benefit your body in many ways. That is why it is essential to incorporate exercise into your day, or better yet, make it part of your workday. So, let’s see how you can improve your fitness when you work in an office.
Change your commute
The first and probably the best fitness tip is to change the way you commute to your office. There is a fair chance that you don’t have to take a cab or subway every day to get to work. Instead, you can rely on your bike to get there and get some exercising before work. Also, if your office is not that far away you can take a walk. However, if you are far away from work, you can take the bus or subway but get off a few blocks early and walk to your office. For those of you who drive to work, you can park further from the building and get moving before spending an entire day at the office. Lastly, don’t take the elevator to your office - take the stairs and get the blood pumping.
Stand up at work
Even if your chair is really comfy and ergonomic, you shouldn’t spend the entire workday sitting. Instead, see if there is an option to get a sit-stand desk. If such desks are not an option, then there are alternatives. Take smaller brakes for walking around or at least standing and stretching a bit. You can even stand and walk while talking on your phone, or walk to your colleague’s desk to chat instead of sending them an email or instant messages.
Keep fitness gear at your office
We're not saying you have to lug a treadmill to the office, but there's plenty of hand-held equipment you can use to get a good workout. Keep your gear at your desk. Bring your resistance bands, stretchy cords, rollers, small weights and even jumping rope. You can take them to the park at lunch, or even surreptitiously do a few reps at your desk.
Take fitness breaks
Instead of hanging out in the lounge sitting and eating, you should opt for a fitness break. You can take that time to walk around the block, hike a few flights of stairs or stretch a bit. Also, if you’d like to get some cardio, Fighting Report blog recommends using a skipping rope as a form of light but effective cardio exercise. This will definitely get your blood flowing and body moving, making you more ready for the upcoming tasks of the day.
Bring a fitness ball
Bring in a fitness ball to use occasionally as a break from your chair. You shouldn't use it as a total replacement, but enjoying a swap every hour or so for a few minutes encourages you to move. It can be a firmly inflated fitness or stability ball, it’s only important that you can safely balance on it. With this ball you are not sitting on a firm surface so you will be forced to keep your back straight, helping you improve your balance. Every core muscle will be engaged, helping you strengthen your core and supporting back muscles. What's more, you can use your ball during the breaks to get some exercises (try some wall squats!).
Since we sit a lot, our musculoskeletal systems can become overworked and tense. That is why you should do some light stretching every single day. Two key parts of your body that need to be stretched out are your back and glutes.
For stretching your glutes, you can come into the downward facing dog and keep your legs straight and hips high. This will give your glutes and leg muscles a nice stretch. For your back, you can lie face down with your legs together and arms underneath the shoulders. Then, lift and extend your body off the ground using your back muscles to give them a bit exercise and stretch them.
Besides these simple exercises and tips, it’s also important that you drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet.