Now that summer has descended upon us, there really shouldn’t be a reason why there isn’t a long laundry list of physical activities to commence. I know working in an office or a job that is classified as being ” sedentary” can attribute to low physical activity and other health causes such as poor posture, muscle fatigue, aches, pains and weight gain.
The average person spends a third of their life at their workplace, shocking isn’t it? Not only should we strive to find a job that’s enjoyable, looking after our health in the workplace is just as essential. Sitting at the desk for endless hours isn’t very wise, and what’s even worse is sitting for endless hours and eating the WRONG type of food, that’s asking for a string of health problems. It’s so easy to be seated in the office and not give physical fitness a second thought, only getting up to visit the lavatory or making the tea round for the rest of the co-workers, yup that sure does exert a lot of physical endurance……NOT!
While I’m not expecting you to breakout a cold sweat in your brand new tuxedo, doing what feels like the London marathon during the lunch hour, there are some great ways to optimise physical fitness during office hours.
Walk to work
I know what you’re thinking? did she really just write that? Yes I did. Of course if the job location is miles away from home, this wouldn’t apply. However, if the company is within working distance or you’re ready to embark on a challenge, then try walking to work where possible. Here’s a word of warning, if it’s your first time walking to work or there’s a level of uncertainty with commencing the journey, leave adequate time for impromptu rests to ensure good time keeping.
Also, there’s the option to up the ante by catching public transport, if walking to work isn’t your forte or utilising public transport instead of hopping in and out of a car to work, where exercise is virtually non existent. Both of these alternative options should definitely help to shift some calories.
Frequent breaks/lunch time
Whether you’re working full time or part time hours, every company allows its employees to take a break. What you choose to do with your respite is entirely up to you. Unfortunately, there’s a growing trend in personnel opting to be stationery instead of removing themselves from the office. Your manager won’t coerce you if you’d rather remain seated or work through your lunch break. I understand when hampered down with work it’s very easy to eat-and-work or underestimate a 10 minute or even 30 minute break.
However, it so crucial to take breaks away from the desk since working in front of a visual display unit is known to cause eye strain and mental fatigue after a long period of time. Furthermore, having a break helps to restore mental clarity. It’s a well known fact the people’s performance improves after taking a break away from their desk.
A few suggests of how maximise your physical health during break time; go for a walk – YES WALK even if it’s around the block or down the street. You deserve a break, you’re not a robot and you’re entitled to one. I promise you will feel so much better afterwards and more refreshed. If you have a park or some green space nearby then go there for your lunch break, be daring and eat in the park.
The picture I look above was one I snapped during my lunch break recently. I’m situated by the town centre which is great to pick up some healthy goodies and one of the biggest parks in the UK (not Hyde Park). It’s so big that cows roam freely with a couple of hares bouncing around, forgot to mention how petrified I am of bovine but the parks so big I can easily spot them and make a detour.
Another good activity much may seem usual is bike riding, yup I know! My previous place of employment tried in vain to get everyone to partake in physical activity. They had a games room for tennis, badminton etc… and bikes you could loan for the duration of your time with the company. The prerequisite being the bike was used for business purposes only. This was a great concept and refreshing to witness staff ride to work or cycle around the pond during lunch time, so if your company has these amenities on site, use them or make an inquiry.
Bring a change of footwear
I’m not just giving out advice that I don’t practice myself, I’m a walking testament to what I preach. Those trainers in the picture are my walking sneakers. I carry them faithfully to work with me and wear them during break time. My health means a lot to me even if it means wearing some unsightly footwear with my corporate attire. That’s the problem, many people are worried about what other people think and not focused on themselves.
I’ve spoken to countless people who refuse to go for a work because a certain colleague won’t accompany them or scared what the general public will think. It’s not practical to tot in high heels or your best pair of clarks, so bring a spare pair of footwear, something that’s comfortable, never mind if it doesn’t coordinate with your suit and tie or pencil skirt, think about how good you’ll feel after sitting at your desk for hours and burning some calories instead. The ramifications are worth looking a bit mismatched for a short period of time, your health matters more – don’t let vanity overrule taking care of physical fitness.
Take the stairs instead of the lift
A large multiple storey building often features lifts for ease and convenience throughout the establishment. Now let’s clarify something, I’m by no means advising anyone to boycott using a lift in favour of climbing a skyscraper building with 52 floors. With that being said, there are a few ways to tackle this; climb the first few flights of stairs and take the lift for the remainder of the journey or climb the entire length of the stairway, again this depends on the size an practicality of the company stairwell.
Do indoor stretching
Whether it’s cold, rainy or perhaps going outdoor isn’t your thing, then contemplate doing something indoors. Try walking the entire stretch of the corridor or take the scenic route to another department. Many people who are seated at the desk for a long period of time often sit with poor posture and strain their neck from answering the telephone. Doing some arm and leg stretches is beneficial to walk up the muscles, improve blood circulation and encourage oxygen to the lungs. Try to make sure to stretch frequently throughout the day; at your desk or find a quiet location in the building to do some stretches.
How do you manage to increase your level of fitness in the workplace? Do you have any additional tips that might be useful for readers?