Get up and get going! It’s good for your health.
Is your nine-to-five dragging you down? Do you need a little more movement throughout the day? With more than a million workers tying themselves to desks and laptops, the average worker starts to feel tired and sluggish. Luckily, knowing how to stay active at work can help with those feelings.
Recent studies by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health show our mental prowess and physical activity are directly linked. Our job performance and ability to help others drastically diminishes once we become so inundated with work that our health suffers. In other words, the longer you sit at your desk, the worse your job performance becomes.
On the other hand, being active at work, exercising regularly and taking frequent breaks from the office improves concentration, sharpens memory functions, helps us learn faster, enhances creativity and lowers our stress levels. Exercise has also been shown to elevate our mood, helping us maintain healthier work relationships.
Would you like to feel more energized at work and enhance your ability to concentrate, learn and think creatively? Here are a few tips on how to stay active at work and get moving.
Make small changes to your routine.
Being active at work doesn’t require a lot of time or equipment. Small changes to your daily routine can help reduce your fatigue and increase productivity. Start with a pedometer. Track your steps for one week without making any changes to your routine. Use the average number of steps as a starting point. Try to increase your number by 25 steps per day at first. Then try 100 extra steps. Soon you’ll start feeling refreshed and reenergized.
There are several subtle changes that will help you increase your steps. Walk across the hall to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an email, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Start parking your car farther away from the entrance, and send your print jobs to the farthest printer. These small steps will add up quickly.
Interrupt your sitting time.
We tend to store our most used items closest to us. Instead of taking the easy, lazy way out, reorganize the layout of your office and force yourself to stand up to reach often-used items. The goal is to stand at least once every ten minutes. Some workers alternate between an exercise ball and a desk chair. Another option for being active at work is a standing workstation. Standing rather than sitting helps strengthen your legs and promotes balance.
Basic exercises help interrupt your sitting time and increase mobility. Try four jump squats once every hour. Squat down as far as your legs allow, and then, using your calf muscles, spring upwards in one quick thrust. Doing this four times every hour helps blood circulation in your legs and gives you a little break between sitting.
Use your exercise time strategically.
Let’s be realistic - between our work and personal life, there’s not much time for true exercise. Sometimes it comes down to being able to exercise at your desk. Maintaining a well-balanced schedule will help you find the time to move. It’s easy to combine exercise and work. Some offices have a wellness center or offer freemium gym benefits. Sometimes being active at work means using your lunch hour to visit the gym. Or take your work to the wellness center.
Studying those tedious sales reports or creating a new advertisement layout is easily combined with stair climbing or treadmill exercises. You can purchase reading clamps from most office retailers. Attach it to the treadmill, climber or bike. There’s nothing wrong with killing two birds - or three - with one exercise.
Five careers to keep you moving.
Finding time to exercise at work is great. But there are some physically active jobs and careers that keep you moving all day. These jobs often are tedious and difficult on the body. They require strength training, cardiovascular activity and balance exercises to prepare for the rigors of work.
1. Firefighter. Saving lives takes a lot of work. These brave men and women need both strength and stamina to keep up with the work. Firefighters carry heavy equipment and move debris at emergency sites. They are required to stay at disaster sites for a prolonged period of time, often several hours without time to sit. Sometimes they even have to carry people who are injured or can’t walk.
2. Landscaper. Standing for long hours in the heat is the core of this job. Landscapers create and maintain business or residential grounds. This includes mowing lawns during the hottest summer hours, cutting trees and lifting heavy branches, repairing dilapidated structures and use a variety of heavy power tools. Many landscapers lift upwards to 50 pounds.
3. Videographer. Who knew shooting video was such hard work? Videographers carry, set up, operate and maintain heavy video equipment including cameras, tripods, computers, editing equipment and sound mixing equipment. Most shoots require them to stand for long periods. Typically, videographers are on the move all day.
4. Personal trainer. Personal trainers turn their own exercise regimens into daily work. They spend each day, normally eight to 10 hours, teaching exercise classes and helping clients learn better fitness goals. While they may not exercise the entire day, their normal workout is far longer than the typical novice.
5. Courier. Couriers take pride in delivering your package. No, these aren’t your typical UPS or FedEx delivery people. They run errands and collect packages for businesses and people who don’t have time for all their tasks. Most couriers use bikes to make deliveries or walk. They don’t use cars due to parking and traffic constraints. After bicycling eight hours a day, carrying upwards to 40 pounds, these hardcore fitness enthusiasts get their workout and more.
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