How to Sneak Exercise into a Busy Work Day
It can be hard to find the time to exercise, especially if you have a really demanding job. While some jobs require workers to be on their feet all day and lead a less sedentary lifestyle, many workers are chained to their desks for at least eight to nine hours per day. Office workers, freelancers, and even professional gamers like poker players all spend long hours at a computer, which isn’t healthy for bodies or minds.
Workers need to find a way to break away from their desks at the end of the day in addition to finding the time for small bursts of activity throughout the day. This increase in activity will help to not only undo the damage from a sedentary lifestyle, but it will also help with circulation, strength, mental clarity, energy levels, and flexibility. You’ll feel better and perform better.
Here are a few ways you can sneak some exercise into a busy work day:
Make time to stretch.
Stretching is especially important when you work all day at a desk. Looking at a computer screen or even just sitting for long periods of time puts a lot of stress on the back and neck. Performing some simple, short stretches at your desk each day can help to relax these areas, improve your posture, and avoid later pain caused by these positions.
While at your desk, cross your arms behind your back in a 90-degree angle. Try to have each hand touch the elbow of the other arm, and hold the position for as long as you can. This will help to stretch your spine, shoulders, and chest, and it will greatly improve your posture. You should feel the benefits of this stretch immediately.
Another stretch you can do at your desk will help your neck. This is good to do if your neck frequently feels tense or stiff, and this stretch will help to avoid later back pain or headaches. All you have to do is lean your head towards your shoulder. Relax your shoulders, take several deep breaths, and count to ten. Repeat with the other side. Then, tilt your head forward and count to ten.
Take short breaks to walk around.
Taking a five minute break every hour or a ten minute break every couple of hours will actually improve your work performance. Instead of reading the news or zoning out, take this opportunity to get up and move. Walk outside, walk up and down stairs, or walk around the office. If you get a long lunch break, head outside for a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood before or after you eat. If you can, walk at a faster pace and get your heart rate up to really feel the benefits of that short burst of exercise.
Make things a little harder on yourself.
Instead of taking the easy route, make things a little harder on yourself. If you drive to work, park farther away from the office so that you walk more. Walk to work now and then if you’re able to, or if you commute, get off at an earlier stop so you fit in some more exercise. Instead of taking an elevator or escalator, take the stairs. If you work twenty floors up, ride the elevator for ten or fifteen flights and then walk the rest of the way.
Additionally, during the work day, if you have a lot of phone calls to make that don’t require you to be chained to your desk, get up and walk around while making your calls. (Just be sure to do this outside or in an area where you won’t bother your coworkers!)
Many of these small efforts of exercise might not seem like a lot, but they are. We know that sitting all day without any physical activity is detrimental to our health in the short and long term. Making the time to stretch, taking breaks to walk around, and skipping the easy route will improve our overall health for years to come.