4 Small Ways to Incorporate Exercise Into the Workday
Most office managers and employees know that exercise is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, just because we know we should do something doesn’t always mean it’s easy. Hectic workdays and full calendars can push out fitness time for the best of us.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to boost your physical activity at work that you might not have considered. In this blog, we’ll provide some ideas you can use to create meaningful moments of activity during your workday.
How Can I Make Movement a Part of My Routine?
The key to fitting physical activity into a busy day is to break your exercise up into bite-sized chunks. Even when a bit of movement seems insignificant, every minute you move adds up throughout the day to create beneficial effects for your health and wellness. To help you get started, here are a few subtle ways to support your health and wellness at work.
Activate your Muscles by Maintaining Good Posture
You don’t even necessarily have to leave your chair to start making improvements. When you adopt good posture, you not only reduce muscle strain but activate various muscle groups, which can burn additional calories and help you develop a stronger muscular foundation.
If possible, use an ergonomic office chair that supports your spine, and sit up straight with your shoulders relaxed. To avoid tension in your neck, use a secondary monitor positioned at or just below eye level.
Use a Standing Desk
Using a standing-height desk to activate muscles and engage the core is a great way to integrate physical activity into the workday. Studies have repeatedly shown that standing for part of the day can deliver significant health benefits. And, alternating between sitting and standing can improve your focus, alertness, and mood.
Using an ergonomic, height-adjustable worksurface encourages you to get moving, and it can also ease tension you may experience in your neck and back from prolonged sitting. Research shows that using a standing desk can help alleviate back pain that results from sitting for long periods. According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who stood while working were able to reduce their upper back and neck pain by 54% after one month.
While standing is proven to burn more calories than sitting, it’s no substitute for exercise. One study found that people who stood burned .15 more calories per minute than those who didn’t. Instead of standing still, incorporate small exercises to take calorie burning to the next level. Calf raises, hamstring curls, and leg extensions are just a few small, simple ways to burn extra calories and prevent stiff muscles.
RELATED: Considering Standing Desks for Your Office? Here’s What to Look For
Take Active Cardio and Stretching Breaks
Even if you maintain good posture while working and stand part of the time, staying glued to your desk all day is not ideal. Make sure to take occasional breaks to walk around or stretch. These quick interludes will help you relax, refresh your brain, and activate muscles that you can’t engage without moving around.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone, it has brought a work-from-home revolution, which can make it a lot easier to find time for activity. Use your lunch break to get your heart rate up and go for a run or do a few yoga poses. If you’re struggling to find time to get active during the day, schedule a few minutes each hour to stand up and stretch from head to toe, take a quick jog around the house, or do some jumping jacks to get moving.
Remember, carving out a few minutes here and there is okay — just make sure to set a reminder or calendar event so it doesn’t get away from you. If you take a 5-minute movement break every two hours, you’ll have 20 minutes of extra activity by the end of the day, and that’s a lot better than nothing.
Stretching can also help relieve tension and muscle strain that accumulate throughout the day. As you transition from one task to another, take a few moments to check in with yourself and gauge how you’re feeling. Alleviate stiffness and tension by raising and lowering your shoulders, slowly rolling your neck from side to side, or lifting your arms above your head to stretch your upper back and triceps.
Turn Meetings into Walks when Possible
When your workday is packed with back-to-back meetings, finding a moment of respite can feel like a challenge. Taking a walk during a meeting is one easy way to mix work and activity. Holding a meeting on the go can add variety to your day, improve wellbeing by incorporating movement, and fend off an after-lunch lull.
Even if you’ve got a Zoom meeting, you can often walk and talk at the same time. While it may not be a good idea in an important client meeting, you can broach the idea for internal check-ins and small-team meetings. You may be surprised at how many other members of your team jump at the idea.
Height-adjustable Desk Solutions to Keep You Moving
The Axis collection from ZGO Solutions blends classic, intelligent craftsmanship with ergonomic support to create a freestanding, height-adjustable desk solution that helps keep you active. Axis embodies Scandinavian design through beautiful, clean lines and nurtures movement with customizable height options.
ZGO Solutions: Prioritizing Your Health and Wellness at Work
At ZGO Solutions, we’re devoted to supporting health and wellness at work through movement. Our height-adjustable workstations move seamlessly from seated to standing, allowing you to adjust your posture and incorporate motion into your daily activities. To learn more about our products and our global approach to design, contact us today.
Bagley, C. (2018, June 27). Can a standing desk help my back pain? UTSouthwestern Medical Center. Retrieved from https://utswmed.org/medblog/standing-desk-back-pain
Office ergonomics: Your how-to guide. (2019, April 27). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-ergonomics/art-20046169
Pronk, N. P., Katz, A. S., Lowry, M., & Payfer, J. R. (2012). Reducing occupational sitting time and improving worker health: The Take-a-Stand Project, 2011. Preventing chronic disease, 9, E154. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.5888/pcd9.110323
Stretches to Do at Work Every Day. (2020, May 5). Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/deskercise#benefits