We have all heard it – exercise, exercise, exercise for health! Several studies are put out yearly that continue to prove exercise is an important part of balancing our lives. Most of us have the best intention of keeping ourselves healthy, but for some reason there is a barrier between our jobs and homes which make it difficult for us to keep good habits. If you are looking to make a few changes, but are not yet ready to take the leap into the gym, part-taking in a few easy workplace exercises can make a big difference. Take a look at this few easy changes that give you ways to exercise at work:
Stand Up (for exercise)!
You can modify your workspace into a standing position by requesting a taller table or even using tall boxing on an existing workstation. If you are the only person using the station, something more permanent, like a shelf, could also be used to support your monitor and keyboard. Talk to your employer, as companies are now seeing the value of standing workstations – so much so, that even some large employers have developed treadmill or biking workstations to help keep employees happy and active.
Walk and Talk
Remember those times in school where you got to go outside to walk around the field or play in the park after lunch in elementary school? It is sadly a habit that most of us lose secondary to a busy work schedule. Try your best to take time during lunch to take a break outside your work and take a 10-30 minute walk. Often, this helps to refresh you for the next course of work in the afternoon or it could continue to be productive if you use it as time to talk to colleagues or make a phone call.
At the end of every hour, make yourself move – be it going to the bathroom; getting a glass of water; getting items from the front desk printer; or standing up to stretch. Our bodies were built to move and our work does not always re-enforce this trait. This small amount of time will help keep your joints lubricated; get some blood pumping; and give you a good reminder to re-set your posture, should you have fallen into a slump with last minute project you are finishing. These are all important changes that affect your health and therefore overall well-being that can truly affect your ability to give your all in the workplace.
Healthy Competition and Companionship
Design a fun competition with your co-workers to see who can do the most squats or curl-ups in a minute. Have a co-worker be a “Work-out Partner,” where at least 3 times during your work week you both hold each other to doing an activity that gets your heart beating a little faster (i.e. jumping jacks, lunges, balance training, yoga sun salutations, relay, pull ups, seated chair races). Schedule a fun-run for which everyone in the office trains to support a good cause (like we did during the Jingle Bell Fun Run! – see picture below). Sometimes these small steps are all you need for motivating a change.
Even if you only take on one of these challenges for the new year, you could make a huge difference, which may spark you to take the extra steps to becoming a more healthy you in 2014 and many years to come. Should you be avoiding any of these activities due to prior injury or chronic pain, please contact your physical therapist to help you work towards these goals.