Keeping a healthy work-life balance can be challenging in an office environment. If you don’t have an active job it may be hard to keep your fitness up, whereas if you are on the move during the day you will be able to relax during the evenings. Planning on going to the gym or fitness classes before or after work is all good and well, but actually attending is an entirely different story. Sometimes, when you’ve been sat at a computer for 8 hours a day, all you want to do is go home and crawl into bed. Here, we discuss the easiest and most beneficial exercises you can do at work, either at or near your desk.
1. Take the stairs
It may sound blatantly obvious that taking the stairs is the healthier option, however when it comes down to it the majority of us would probably opt for the elevator, particularly first thing in the morning. Why not take two steps at a time? You’ll give your legs a work-out simply by making your way into the office. (Feel free to throw in some lunges, squats and knee-raises if nobody is looking.)
2. Stand to attention
If you are consistently sitting down for long periods of time whilst at work, it is beneficial for you to stand up whenever possible. One of the largest pieces of research conducted by the NHS (involving almost 800,000 people) found that, compared with those who sat the least, people who sat down the longest had a 147% risk increase in cardiovascular problems. Furthermore, the people who sat for the longest periods of time also had a 112% risk increase of developing diabetes. Whilst at work, stand up and walk around as often as possible – even if it means pacing around the room whilst you wait for your document to print!
3. The lunch time twist
Most office chairs are on wheels and spin around, making it easier for the person sat on it to move around their office or desk space. However, this can also lead to severe laziness! Why not change the purpose of your spinning office chair and put it to good use? Use its twisting technique to work out your obliques – lift your feet off the ground, hold onto your desk to stay steady and use your core to twist the chair from side to side. Keep going until your muscles start to burn, then have a rest and repeat.
4. Stationary need not be stationary
Look around your desk – heavy stapler? Ring binders full of documents? Reels of printer paper? Why not utilise the items around you and do some bicep curls, shoulder raises and upward arm pumps whilst holding these heavy objects? If you are on a break, waiting for your computer to restart or on hold with a client on the phone, squeeze in a few reps to keep your arms and shoulders toned.
There are many ways to keep fit during office hours that don’t involve making a fool of yourself in front of your colleagues. Perhaps ask your boss if you could trial a standing desk, or gather a few co-workers to go for a 30-minute run after work a couple of times a week. That way, you will still be home in time for tea and to see your family or friends.