For many of us, the closest we ever get to manual labour in the workplace is lifting a box of paper to refill the copier machine every once in a while. Technological advances over the last decade has led to a shift in focus from physical labour to more sedentary working environments.
This shift means that most of us find ourselves whittling away the hours, and probably our health, glued to an office chair. While fitting exercise into our busy schedules can sometimes be a challenge, there are a few simple ways to maintain your health and stay fit in the office.
Level Up Using The Stairs
via Flickr by Clyde Robinson
One of the most encouraged methods for getting some physical activity at the office is stair-walking. However, taking the stairs when possible is not just a way to elevate the heart rate and increase your fitness, it also serves as a way to avoid those awkward moments that often occur in packed elevators.
Simply walking up a couple of flights of stairs might be challenging at first, but you will soon feel fit enough to start running up a flight or two, which will really get the blood flowing. Alternatively, you can start challenging yourself by striding up two or three steps at a time.
Supercharge Your Diet
Avoid the usual office diet of homemade cakes and vending machine snacks. All those calories and trans-fats soon conspire to start wreaking havoc on your health. Instead, you should make an effort to supercharge your diet by consuming more healthy snacks and superfoods.
Things like blueberries, almonds, and dark chocolate help to give you a nice energy boost and reduce your stress levels without the side effects of the usual sugar-laden snacks. It is also important to consume certain heart-healthy oils, such as coconut oil, as part of a balanced diet. This infographic outlines a few of the many benefits of a coconut oil-infused diet.
Simply replacing a few sugary snacks with some healthy super-foods will have a significant impact on your productivity, ability to manage stress, and overall health. Also be sure to drink plenty of water! If your employer does not provide a quality water source, it may be worth asking them to equip the team with a quality office water cooler to supply everyone with cold, purified water.
Go Incognito For Some Light Relief
If you are a shy office worker, you will be pleased to know that you can squeeze in some light exercises while sitting at your desk and no one will even notice. Tone up those weary glutes by squeezing your buttocks while seated and holding for 5-10 seconds. Release and then repeat until your glutes begin to tire.
Another great covert desk-exercise is leg raises. You can do this by raising both your legs straight underneath your desk and holding for around 5 seconds. Lower your legs back towards the ground, but don’t let your feet touch the floor before raising your legs back up.
Replace The Office Chair
via Flickr by ryaninc
If your boss and workspace allow it, why not swap out your office chair for an exercise ball? You can easily alternate between working a few hours in the chair and on the ball. While on the exercise ball, you will be able to continue working and simultaneously condition your abdominal muscles.
Sitting on an exercise ball can be quite challenging at first, but pushing yourself to sit on it for increasing periods of time will work wonders for your posture, balance and focus.
Turn Your Cubicle Into A Mini Gym
A typical cubicle or office space can easily double as a mini gym without the need to bring in any dumbbells or exercise machines. A full water bottle will make for a handy dumbbell for you to carry out some impromptu arm curls at your desk.
A few triceps dips can be done from the edge of a sturdy desk, and before you sit down in your chair, why not do ten squats above it first?
Studies have shown that sedentary work increases the risk of “mortality and cardiometabolic disorders”. These risks can be minimised by making a conscious effort to stay fit and flexible in the office. Even a small amount of extra physical activity per day can improve mood, motivation, and overall wellness.