Many modern jobs require you to spend much of your time sitting. However, too much time spent sitting down can cause health problems (e.g. chronic back pain). One way to get around that is to find more ways to be active at work. Try out these ideas to get some exercise in your daily routines.
Walk to work
One easy way of incorporating activity into your daily routine is walking to work. Walking (or biking) to the office can make you come in feeling fresh and ready to start the day strong. For many, however, it is not practical to walk all the way to work. There are still ways to integrate walking into your morning commute.
If you use transit, try getting off a stop or two earlier, and then walking the rest of the way. Parking your car a bit farther from work can give you an opportunity for a brisk morning walk, and could save you money on parking costs. Use these ideas to make at least part of the trip a bit more active. You can also combine this measure with apps to help you track how many steps you take each day.
Take the stairs
Using the stairs instead of an elevator is a simple way to stay active. Make a habit of taking the stairs at work whenever possible. It’s a great way of raising the heart rate and improving your energy level. Start with baby steps at first, going one or two flights of steps at first, then work your way up gradually. By the time it becomes second nature, you might even be outpacing the elevator.
Stand up regularly
Find ways to stand and move about every so often at work. Standing uses more muscles and burns more calories than sitting. It will keep your back muscles active and improve your posture. Standing may enhance your thinking and creativity. Take advantage of this to improve your work performance and productivity.
Another thing you can do is take regular breaks to stand or walk around. When sitting, adjust your posture now and then to prevent muscle pain and fatigue.
Take an active lunch break
Some people elect to eat lunch while continuing to work. Instead of staying at your desk, get up and go out to eat. Use at least part of your lunch hour to get active. Go outside and take a walk to enjoy a change of pace. If you can squeeze in more activity, try jogging or yoga to keep yourself active. Getting active during lunch can help refresh your brain for the second half of your day. Even something as simple as a 15-minute lunch in the park can help you recharge. Use your lunch as a golden opportunity to move the muscles and get some fresh air.
Have standing meetings
When most people think of meetings, the image usually involves plenty of sitting down. Instead of sitting, try implementing standing or walking meetings. Walking meetings also tend to end sooner, which you can use to improve efficiency and get back to work faster. Standing tends to use more energy than sitting, which you can use to get a bit of a workout. The exercise and change of scenery can also encourage more creativity and make your meetings more fruitful.
Volunteer for coffee runs
If there’s someone assigned to get coffee and other drinks for the office, volunteer to be “it.” It’s an opportunity to get on your feet on your way to the office kitchen. Otherwise, you can go outside and pass by a coffee shop to get some fresh air. If it takes more than of you to bring back drinks, it’s also a chance to socialize and take a breather from work. Do volunteer whenever office mates need other tasks done. For example, you can help when documents need to be delivered or printed for more chances to get up and move.
Turn waiting time into moving time
Sometimes it can take time for things to happen at work. For example, there might be a line at the photocopier, or you have to wait on coworkers before you can use a meeting room. Use the time to squeeze in some small exercises. Try taking a short walk, or do some squats or calf-raises. Your mini-workout can also reduce some stress if you feel like you’re in a hurry.
Part of being active is dressing comfortably. After all, it’s much harder to use the stairs in a stiff suit or high heels. Wearing clothes in which you aren’t comfortable can stress you out more quickly. In contrast, casual dress can help you stay relaxed and make it easier to focus on your work. There are ways to make your clothing more comfortable if your workplace has a more formal dress code. Invest in smart clothing options (e.g. comfortable flats over heels, or a suit made from breathable fabric).
If you’ve been sitting for a long time, try getting up and stretching. It’s a great way to reduce back and neck pain, and help you feel more energized.
While working, stretch at your workstation to reduce muscle strain from sitting in the same position for too long. Stretching the body extends the spine, which can reverse the hunched position we take when we sit. Use the motion to take the pressure off the back. Stretch every thirty minutes or so to work out the kinks and help yourself recharge.
Switch out your chair for an exercise ball
When it comes to being active at work, small modifications to your workspace can bring big returns. Try replacing your office chair with an exercise ball. Sitting in a chair takes little effort from your muscles. On the other hand, sitting on an exercise ball forces you into a more upright posture. This can help strengthen your core and lower back muscles, preventing muscle strains. One bonus is that you can’t slouch when sitting on an exercise ball. This can keep you alert and avoid putting stress on your back.
Drink plenty of water
Make a habit of filling your water bottle frequently throughout the day. Think of it as a chance to include even a little more exercise into your daily routine. Drink plenty of water to encourage yourself to get up for refills more frequently. Getting plenty to drink can also keep you energized and help you feel less sluggish at work.
Make use of your gadgets to help you remember to be more active at work. For example, set alarms on your computer or phone to remind you to take active breaks. When you receive calls or read emails, make a habit of standing to stay active when you’re slightly free.
Staying active is part and parcel of staying healthy. These tips can help you sneak some exercise into your work day and keep you more fit. Getting enough exercise can help strengthen your muscles and avoid pain from excessive sitting. As a bonus, the fitness can also improve your creativity and make you more productive. If you have the time, you can also get massage therapy. The treatment can help work pain and stiffness out of your back, and help you relax for the day.
At Brampton Physiocare and Wellness Clinic, we do everything we can to help you on the road to recovery. We offer a wide variety of services to give you the right treatments. Our caring, friendly staff are on hand to assist you during therapy and help you feel comfortable. Give us a call at (905) 497-1311 to make an appointment.