The battle of the bulge only gets more intense as we age. Demanding jobs, sedentary lifestyles, and long hours at a desk only compound our natural tendencies toward slower metabolisms. Instead of beating yourself up for limited workout time around kids, work, and other responsibilities, get creative and find ways to squeeze in workouts. Here are some health and fitness tips that you can employ at the office, without ever (really) leaving your office or desk.
You might not have carpel tunnel syndrome, but you most likely feel some of the effects of sitting a desk all day long. These can include stiffness, backaches, sore shoulders, tight jaw, and headaches. An ergonomic set up may include your chair, desk, and computer related equipment that makes it more comfortable for you to work. Some solutions include working at a standing desk, or balancing on an exercise ball or medicine ball. A good ergonomic set up is complemented by an effort to work on good posture and tone your core. Both of these steps can go even further to minimizing the impact of a sedentary workday on your joints and the rest of your boxy.
Stretch it out
Combat stiffness and loss of flexibility by stretching regularly. This doesn’t have to be a protracted affair, but set an alarm at least every 30 minutes to stretch. This could be your signal to take a quick walk to the water fountain or the bathroom. You might do a cold call on your feet. Or you might quickly do some stretches to limber up. During these breaks, check in with your body and adjust accordingly. Sometimes when you stretch, you may find that you need to work on your quads and at other times you’re better off with a good shoulder roll. Staying flexible and going with whatever your body needs in the moment gets you the best results and helps keep you relaxed in the face of any stress that may come up.
Commit to hydrating
Whether you subscribe to the eight glasses of H20 a day model or feel that you should just listen to your thirst, make it easy to stay hydrated while you’re in the office. Grab a large glass or water bottle and keep it filled with water. If you love ice and lemons, stock up. If room temperature is your style, always have it on hand. Try to drink a swallow at least every half hour, and set targets of how much water you want to drink each day. Having a goal will keep you on plan, and staying hydrated boosts your energy, your metabolism, and your mood.
Take advantage of the office wellness program
A lot of companies are offering corporate wellness programs now that include everything from free pedometers to discount gym memberships to onsite massages. Taking part may earn you discounts on your health insurance premiums, and it’s a great way to meet supportive colleagues also interested in their health. Find out what programs, if any, your company has going that might be of interest to you.
Try these cardio tricks
Stretching in your office is one thing; but you might be dubious that it’s possible to get in a cardio workout. The truth is, that people do it all the time. And if you managed to squeeze in ten three minute sessions throughout the day, your cardio needs have been met for a full day! Here are some easy ones to try:
– If you have your own office: jumping jacks, simulated jumping ropes, and floor rebounding are all options. Basically, whatever scenario of jumping up and down that seems less awkward or more exciting – you should go for it!
– If you’re at a cubicle: In place running drills, such as the type that you do to get your circulation moving when you’re cold.
– If you’re all about subtlety: One very cool invention is the under desk bike, a set of pedals that you can pump while you’re seated and working. It’s possible to do this in a very unobtrusive way to get in your 30 minutes or an hour of cardio.
Give it your best shot
If you’re looking for cardio that you can do while seated, here are two options. The first is shadow boxing. Go for 30 seconds to 60 seconds at a time. Visualizing specific opponents for stress relief is optional. You can also ball your hands into fists, extend your arms over your head, and pump alternately for a minute at a time. This is a great way to raise circulation and get your arms moving.
Build your strength
Strength training and core work are both possible while you’re at your desk as well. One simple approach is the desk pushup – while standing, put both hands on your desk. Lean forward until as much weight as is practical rests on your hands. Lower yourself and then raise yourself up off the desk. Keep your footing secure to make this safe. Another thing you can do is work on your core. While sitting, exhale and then pull in your stomach muscles as tightly as you can. Hold for 30 seconds, and release. Do these in sets of 20 and work up to as many as 60.
Anyone that tells you fitness isn’t possible when you’re stuck at a desk for eight or ten hours a day just isn’t thinking creatively. Whatever your fitness priorities, you can make time for stretching, toning and even cardio at the office. What are your top tips for staying fit while you’re at work? Let me know in the comments below!
Bio: Elizabeth Hooper is a writer who covers trends related to small business, entrepreneurs, and the evolving digital landscape. Her work has been published by The Huffington Post, USA Today, The Daily Muse, Better Homes and Gardens, and PolicyMic. Connect with Elizabeth on Google+.