Looking for exercises you can do at work?
“Get out your seat and jump around!”
So you may look somewhat foolish if you literally start jumping at your workstation for exercise, but we thought these song lyrics were appropriate because it’s what we wish some of our patients would do to get at least some exercise while at work! But, for the sake of preserving your ego and relationship with your co-workers, we decided to come up with 5 other exercises that you can do at work without getting stares from your co-workers.
In today’s world there are a growing number of jobs where the only activity one gets throughout the day is clicking a mouse and typing on a keypad. This not only can lead to long term health problems, but acute problems such as tendonitis or neck strains. So take a little extra time out of your day to do something for yourself – try some of these exercises at work.
1. Take the long route
So you need to get to your office, to the bathroom, to your car, etc, etc on a daily basis…. why not take the long route? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car further away. Find the longest route to the bathroom or use the bathroom on another floor.
2. Take a walk for lunch
Even just a 10 minute walk can help to burn fat, control blood sugar and cholesterol, build energy and protect cells from free radical damage. Set aside 20 minutes of your lunch hour for five minutes to change into walking clothes, 10 minutes for the walk around your office building, and five minutes to change back into your work clothes.
3. Stand up
Just taking a break every 15-20 minutes to stand can help you to relieve stress, improve circulation, improve posture, and decrease lower back pain. There are even great desks now that you can adjust so you can also work standing. While we don’t think standing in one position for hours is good, we do think a change of position for short periods of time every now and then is great for your body!
Below is a chart with 12 easy stretches you can do at your desk. Now, I am not saying that you have to do all 12 each day, but pick a few you feel would help you the most and do them 3-4 times throughout the day.
5. Strengthen Muscles
- Squats – every 30 min or hour stand up and sit back down without using your hands 10 times.
- Heel raises – waiting for the printer or taking a standing break? Might as well raise up on the balls of your feet 20 times.
- Glute squeezes – This one no one will notice (hopefully). While sitting at your desk tighten your butt cheeks and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat this every hour.
- Leg raises – Tone those thighs by simply extending your knee (or kicking your leg straight) and tighten your thigh muscle. Hold this for 5 seconds and repeat 20 times an hour. You can even sneak in ankle weights for added resistance if you are so inclined.
Now with these simple exercises there really should be no excuse not to do some type of activities while at work. However, this does not replace the 30 minutes of moderate daily recommended physical activity. Which you are surely getting right? Good. Now for ergonomic tips to improve your workstation and further reduce your risk for repetitive stress injuries, you can also check out the article we released last week, “Healthy Computer Habits.”