In the age of cubicles and computer screens, so many of spend our days at work stretching and flexing our brains constantly. All that brain power is wonderful, but meanwhile, our bodies tend to get neglected as we spend longer hours sitting and staring at a computer screen.
However, working a desk job doesn’t mean you have to neglect your fitness throughout the day. There are simple ways to incorporate more fitness into your daily routine.
8 Office Exercises to Keep You Moving at Work
1. Use the Stairs
This may seem like an adage as old as time, and it is for good reason. In fact, a doctor at Harvard claims in this article published in the New York Times that part of the reason women outlive men is because they’re typically charged with the responsibility of caring for the family home, meaning they frequently climb two and three flights of stairs multiple times per day.
Climbing the stairs burns two to three times more calories than walking on a flat surface and studies have shown that climbing stairs frequently at work, at home, at school and out and about can contribute to lower mortality rates.
We challenge you to take it a step further. If you’re looking to the stairs to provide some daily aerobic exercise while at work, try taking them as fast as you can multiple times a day.
2. Take Advantage of Your Lunch Break
Whether you have thirty minutes or an hour, your lunch break can be a great time to squeeze in some activity.
Keep a pair of tennis shoes under your desk and use part of your break to take a brisk walk around the block or the floor of your building. Bring your yoga mat to work and run through a few of your favorite yoga videos. Even a quick ab tabata of planks, sit ups, butterfly kicks and mountain climbers can easily be done in an office.
Going out to lunch? That’s fine — try using a bike share program if you’re in a bigger city or walk to lunch if the restaurant is close by.
3. Walk or Bike to Work
Obviously, this isn’t an option for everyone. Biking a 30-mile commute is a little extreme even for fitness fanatics. However if you live with a two to five mile radius of your office, make a point once or twice a week to hoof it into work or ride your bike.
4. Try a Standing Desk
Although standing desks have gotten some flack from the media in recent months, they can be an effective tool if used correctly.
Using a standing desk at work has been linked to lower rates of cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity and living longer.
If you invest in a standing desk, make sure you’re using great posture and that you’re not standing for extended periods of time. Try lining up your standing periods of time with easier tasks that don’t require as much concentration, such as answering emails or taking a quick Facebook break.
5. Keep Good Posture
There’s a lot to be said for just maintaining good posture at work. Keeping your core tight and shoulders back is good for your spine and can ease lots of maladies including neck, shoulder and back pain.
Good posture includes a tight core, a neutral spine, shoulders back and your knees bent at ninety degree angles.
Even those of us with the best intentions tend to forget all about posture when we start concentrating on a task at hand. With that in mind…
6. Set a Timer
Setting a timer for every half hour is a great reminder to not only improve your posture, but also to get up and get moving.
Set your timer in thirty minute increments. Every thirty minutes, stand up and stretch before settling back down and resetting your posture. Every hour, get up and walk a lap around your desk or around your office.
These are simple steps that pay huge dividends for your health and even your productivity at work.
7. Get Some Gadgets
If you’re really looking to improve your fitness while at work, you have the option to invest some money.
From FitBits to Under the Desk Elliptical Trainers, there are lots of options for incorporating some exercise at work. Try a stability ball or a pedal laptop desk to get your heart pumping while you’re clocked in.
8. Compete With Your Office Mates
Doing things in groups is great — it tends to be more fun and provide a sense of accountability that can be essential when you’re trying to make lifestyle changes.
Luckily, gadgets and apps like the FitBit and MyFitnessPal make it easy to not only see what your coworkers are doing, but also to host some friendly inter-office competitions.
Encourage your cubicle buddies to have a step-off contest or to track their heart rates throughout the day or the week and the winner can buy everyone else a drink after work.