Sitting in an office chair and staring at a screen all day is hard on the body in many ways. The lack of physical activity can be directly related to back pain, eye pain, stress and all forms of grumpiness. Not to worry though, a few determined changes to a daily routine can drastically improve health and mood throughout the day. Get ready to get moving.
1. Take the stairs
Unless you work on the 30th floor, elevators are your health nemesis. Beware of escalators and walkways as well. Experts ask that you get a solid 30 minutes of exercise daily, but science is also telling us that breaking up that 30 minutes into 10-minute blocks gives the same results. Making the decision to climb those stairs is a great way to elevate that heart rate and get your blood moving.
2. Walk while you talk
Many desk jobs require employees to do business on a phone for at least a few minutes every day. Where possible, train yourself to get up and walk around while having conversations. Headsets are pretty inexpensive and make this tip much easier to accomplish. No need to limit this tip to phone conversations, though. Walking with a coworker while brainstorming or scheduling can actually increase creativity.
3. Plan meals
Fast food and restaurant meals are loaded with extra sugar and salt that are unnecessary. By taking the time to plan an entire week of meals on Saturday or Sunday (including snacks), the vending machine stops and fast food runs can be limited. Planning meals and snacks will also give you more willpower to resist the office treats that circulate.
Going out to eat can be good occasionally; it promotes team building and a treat-yo-self Friday is sometimes necessary to get through the last day of work. But on those days when it's not a treat-yo-self kind of day, try joining your team on a lunch walk, doing some yoga together or just taking a break from sitting while you eat your homemade lunch.
It's a thing. We promise! Every hour, make a point of getting up and walking to a far bathroom or coworker's desk, doing some stretching or yoga in your cubicle or some weight exercises like calf lifts, pushups against your desk and tricep dips against your chair. Do what feels good to you to get your body moving and give your eyes a rest from the computer screen.
5. Get rid of your chair
Standing desks are wonderful, as are exercise balls as a replacement for chairs. Standing for a couple of hours every day builds muscle and may even encourage pacing.
Exercise balls improve posture and core strength. Plus, they are simply more fun than a simple office chair. Alternatives to chairs are abundant; bring up a few options to your boss and see if new seating is in the budget.
6. Try an app or wearable device
Apps like Team Better can be a great way to incentivize taking the small steps towards healthy goals. Have the office download the app and see who will win a giftcard at the end of each month!
Most wearable devices have a sedentary monitor and will buzz or alert you when you have been sitting for over an hour. Make it an office goal to get up and do 10 jumping jacks every time your wrist buzzes.
Do you feel inspired? The work you do may be fun and rewarding; don't let your office habits ruin it. Keep your body moving and working to keep your mind in tip-top shape. Implementing these tips may be hard at first, but as you get going, expect others to follow. Maybe have a floor-wide yoga session daily or a group that walks together at lunch time. Finding little ways to increase activity will make a difference in your body and how much you enjoy work. So get to it! Take a break on us.