For many Americans, work means hours spent sitting at a desk looking at a computer screen. Breaks are far and few between and usually amount to nothing more than a quick stroll across the office to refill on coffee.
Such stationary work conditions lead to health problems, such as carpal tunnel from too much typing and vision loss due to staring at a screen, but also more serious ones like increased chances of obesity and heart disease because of a generally inactive lifestyle.
It’s tough to find time to work-out when working full-time and having a life outside work, but here are some easy tips to steal away a little time for physical fitness while at the office.
Park far away. Best case scenario, you’ll take advantage of some kind of physical activity to get to work, such as biking. But like most Americans, you probably have to commute to work. Even if you drive to work, you can still get some exercise in. Give yourself some extra time and park far away. Burn calories before and after work by walking long(er) distances to and from the offices.
Take the stairs. This is a no-brainer: skip the elevator and walk up to your floor. Stairs are an amazing way to burn calories and build and tone leg muscles. Even better, if you have a couple minutes for a bathroom break, walk up and down a few floors a couple times a day.
Create quick exercise routines. Map out your day so that you do something quick and physical at scheduled intervals. Say, at 10 am you do 10 push-ups; right before lunch, 10 crunches; at 3 pm, stretching; etc. These will provide welcomed albeit brief breaks away from the computer and will get your blood flowing to keep focusing and doing your best work.
Use office furniture for exercises. You can exercise even while sitting at your desk. Do leg lifts while in your chair to help stretch out and work your abdominal muscles. Bring your legs up until they are almost perpendicular with your body and hold for 5 seconds, working your way up to 15 seconds or more. Do 3 sets of 8 throughout the day.
Sit up straight. Believe it or not, sitting up straight is essential to maintaining physical fitness. Slouching promotes bad habits and an inactive lifestyle. Proper position uses your ab and lower back muscles, slowly strengthening them, and promotes better circulation which will leave you with more energy to work — and hopefully more energy to hit the gym after work.
Bring small weights and other equipment to work. Close your office door and do a couple bicep curls every now and then. Don’t have an office and feel embarassed about working out in front of your co-workers? Have a palm-sized squeeze ball to do quick sets throughout the day. It will strengthen your forearms, improve your grip, and help reduce stress.