By Ana Reisdorf
When you work full-time in an office, it can be hard to fit in time to exercise. In a dream world, we would all love to have time to do a full hour workout every day. However, it’s not always feasible when working 40 or more hours per week. It seems that your choices are either waking up early to get in a workout before work or going after work, when you might be tired or have other family commitments. But, those are not the only two options.
Adding just a little bit of physical activity while you’re at work can help you be more productive, reduce stress, and stay physically active. Here are some quick and easy exercises that will help you maintain your activity level while helping break up your workday and increasing productivity.
- Walk whenever possible
This one is pretty obvious and really simple. Most of us sit way too much during the day, as so much work is done on a computer. Walking is an easy way to get the blood flowing and get a little exercise. Here are a few suggestions to add walking into your work day:
– Set a timer and walk for five minutes every hour.
– Wear a pedometer and try to hit a step goal daily (some even remind you to get up!).
– Take a short 20-minute walk during lunch.
– Have walking meetings with co-workers, instead of meetings that involve sitting.
– Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of sending an email.
– Walk to work if possible or park in the furthest spot from the door.
- Use a desk or chair that promotes activity
There are so many options these days for desks that help you stay active. Consider a desk that moves up and down, allowing you to stand during periods of the day. Or, try a treadmill desk, which can help keep you active during the day. You may also consider sitting on an exercise ball instead of a traditional office chair. This allows you to use your core muscles while sitting and forces you to stay alert, so you don’t fall off.
- Do chair squats
Consider doing 15-20 squats right at your chair. Stand up and sit back down, forcing your hips back as you sit. Doing this a few times a day can help get your legs, a major muscle group, working and burning more calories.
- Try wall or desk push-ups
You probably don’t want to drop to the ground and do push-ups in the middle of your workday. But, you can be a little more subtle by doing a few wall or desk push-ups. Lean up against the wall in “push up” position and bend your arms, just like you would on the ground. If you need a bigger challenge you can lean against your desk and do a push-up. These exercises are great for people who can’t do traditional push-ups but still want to build up their arm strength.
Stretching is a great way to take a break and relax a little during the workday. Do a few shoulder rolls. Raise your arms above your head and stretch. Stand up, bend over and touch your toes. Or stretch out your wrists by bending your hands back and rolling them around. Just a few minutes of stretching can help you regain focus on tasks, making your workday more productive.
The bottom line is that in order to add exercise into your day, you must be intentional about it. There are a lot of things you can do to be more active, you just have to make the effort. Set alarms, get co-workers involved, and make sure you focus on physical activity during your scheduled breaks. Getting the blood flowing will help you be more productive when you do get back to work. So, get up and get moving.
Ana Reisdorf is a registered dietitian who writes for Walgreens about nutrition topics to help readers live healthy and productive lifestyles during the workday and beyond. You can find a variety of vitamins to supplement a balanced diet at Walgreens.