American’s spend roughly two thirds of their day at work and with technology advances, more and more jobs are able to be performed entirely from the home or office computer which has led to the ever so common “desk job.” Today, nearly 80% of jobs do not require any sort of physical activity and this increasing sedentary lifestyle is believed to be behind the growing trend of negative health effects including obesity, heart disease, increased stress levels, and other chronic illness. However, by making an effort to incorporate physical activity into your workday you can help reduce these risks and improve your overall health.
- Exercise in the AM. Exercising in the morning will jump start your metabolism and leave you feeling more energized to take on the day. Even just taking a brisk walk around the block can do wonders in triggering a positive hormonal reaction for fat metabolism.
- Use the stairs. Park further away from the building and instead of using the elevator, use the stairs whenever possible. Don’t be afraid to get your heart pumping during the work day.
- Take small breaks. While sitting at your desk, make it a point to take small breaks to get out of your chair. Walk around the office or do a few stretches. You might even consider walking to the farthest bathroom located on the other side of the building.
- Get moving. Give yourself an excuse to get moving by personally delivering messages to co-workers instead of sending emails or making phone calls to their office across the hall.
- Add it in. Stand up or walk around during your next phone call. If you want to take it to the next level try multitasking with simple hands-free exercises like calf raises or wall sits.
- Keep fitness equipment handy. Keep exercise bands or small weights in your office, or use an exercise ball as your desk chair for core and posture improvement.
- Start an exercise challenge within your department. It can be as simple as challenging everyone to take 20 minutes away from their desk to go on a walk outside when the weather is nice.
There are many ways to add physical activity into your busy work schedule and just a slight adjustment to your daily routine can go a long way. You may also consider picking up a physical hobby (i.e. swimming, softball, Frisbee golf, etc.) outside of work or making it a point to stop by the gym on the way home from the office. Being active during the workday can greatly improve your overall health, well-being, and work productivity. Many companies offer employee wellness programs so consider asking your employer about the options they can provide. If you understand the results of the health decisions you make, it will empower you with desire to improve your overall health.