These days, everyone from first lady Michelle Obama to television personality Jillian Michaels is encouraging people to stay active. While not traditionally known as a hotbed of physical activity, the workplace has been trying to provide more fitness opportunities in recent years. Some employers have outfitted employees with treadmill workstations. Others have forged relationships with nearby gyms and exercise groups to offer lunchtime boot camps, running clinics and spin classes.
As forward thinking as that is, you may still need to do more. Recent studies suggest that too much sitting can increase health risks -- even if you exercise regularly [source: Kazmarzyk]. The good news is that, even if your job requires you to remain at a desk for the majority of the day, there are still many things you can do to stay active. In addition to taking the stairs and parking on the far side of the lot, here are a few more tricks for getting you out of your chair:
- Have a Ball. Swap your desk chair for a large, inflatable exercise ball. You'll exercise core muscles while you work.
- Weigh In. Your body weight is a great exercise tool. Try stationary lunges, dips, pushups and squats in the comfort of your office or cubicle.
- Jump for the Phone. When the phone rings, jump to your feet and stand for the duration of the call. Apply this same technique any time a distraction pulls you away from your desk work. Try to stand while you work, too, since standing requires shifting your weight from one foot to the next.
- Meet Up. Got a standing meeting with your work team? Put the "stand" in standing by suggesting that everyone stay on their feet during those regularly scheduled brainstorming sessions.
Healthy employees are more productive and take fewer sick days than unhealthy ones. For this reason, your boss will probably welcome your attention to staying active in the workplace, even if it means the staff suddenly starts lunge-walking to the water cooler.
For lots more information and related articles about fitness and the workplace, see the links below.
- Judson, Olivia. "Stand Up While You Read This." New York Times. Feb. 23, 2010. (Feb. 12, 2011)http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/stand-up-while-you-read-this/?scp=10&sq=exercise%20at%20work&st=cse
- Kazmarzyk, Church, Craig, Bouchard. "Sitting Time and Mortality From All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer." May, 2009. (Feb. 12, 2011)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19346988?ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
- Physicalfitness.org. "Worksite Health Promotion Programs Enhance the Health and Overall Productivity of your Organization!" (Feb. 12, 2011)http://www.physicalfitness.org/nehf.html
- Saunders, Travis. "Can Sitting Too Much Kill You?" Scientific American. Jan. 6, 2011. (Feb. 12, 2011)http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=can-sitting-too-much-kill-you-2011-01-06
- Smith, Stew. "The Office Workout." Military.com. (Feb. 12, 2011)http://www.military.com/military-fitness/workouts/office-workout