Do you feel like your busy work day is keeping you sedentary? Whether you work at an office or from home, I'm here to tell you that there are officially no more excuses for not making your health a priority.
I've been working with corporates for many years and have come up with some simple strategies to allow you to exercise at work and lead a healthy, active lifestyle, even if you're office-bound.
My top 10 tips to exercise at work
1 Swap the sit-down lunch for a walk and talk
A lunch-time break doesn't have to be sedentary, so grab a smoothie and meet a friend at a park or across the road for your weekly catch-up.
2 Move while you wait
If you added up all the time you spend waiting in a day, you’d be surprised – so use that time to move. Do side kicks while you wait for the kettle to boil or squeeze your abs while your emails download.
3 Turn off technology
Rather than emailing or texting your colleagues, walk to their desks. The more you walk around, the better.
4 Use movement cues
If you work from home or a secluded office, when the clock strikes the hour, use it as your cue to move! Get up from your desk and do 10 push-ups, 10 dips, and a minute of ab crunches – if you do this five times a day, it will add up to about 10 minutes of exercise.
5 Take the stairs
In 10 minutes of climbing the stairs, a 60kg woman will burn almost 336kJ. (More than the approximate equivalent to a slice of bread). Don't underestimate the value of taking the stairs over the lift.
6 Put your multitasking talent to work
While chatting on the phone, walk around, climb stairs, do squats, lunges, side kicks or calf raises.
7 Step it up
Get a pedometer or Fitbit and track how many steps you take each day. You should aim for 10 000 steps. Find ways to increase your daily steps, for instance by parking further away and walking.
8 Who needs a static chair?
Invest in an exercise ball or a sit/stand desk (which adjusts your computer height as you alternate between sitting and standing) and enjoy the many benefits of actively engaging your core and moving rather than slouching at your desk. This allows you to substitute hours of being sedentary for activity while you work.
9 Stretch it out
Being desk-bound means tight hip flexors and neck and shoulder strain. Stretch your hip flexors for three minutes on each side, three times a day.
Do this by getting down on one knee and leaning forward to feel a hip stretch. To release tension in your shoulders, clasp your hands behind your back in a straight line and draw them as far up behind you as you can.
For a simple upper back and shoulder stretch at work, try this:
- Stand with your legs slightly apart and facing forward, knees bent.
- Hold a pole or the wall with your left hand, twisting slightly to stretch your upper back and shoulder.
- It's important that you still face forward.
- Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
- Complete 2-4 sets.
Tip: After this stretch, keep the movement going by swinging your arms gently forwards and a backwards for a few minutes, making sure to keep your back straight and shoulders down.
One of the best ways to get an 'exercise snack' quickly and conveniently, is bouncing for 2-5 minutes once every hour. Keep a rebounder next to your desk, and have a quick bounce whenever you have a gap in your busy work day.
5 minutes of rebounding is equivalent to 15 minutes of running. If you rebound for 5 minutes every hour for 9 hours, that's technically 45 minutes of running! Regular bouncing has so many health benefits. It can benefit your sleep, digestion, lymphatic system and so much more!