March 13, 2024

exercise at your desk

Staying active doesn’t always require a trip to the gym.

In today’s fast-paced work environment, it is easy to find yourself at your desk for hours on end. Deadlines wait for no one, but neither does your health. Incorporating movement into your daily routine can have a profound impact on your overall wellbeing — and no, you don’t have to completely overhaul your routine. Let’s review five simple and sustainable tips for staying active during the workday!

1. Schedule microbreaks

To master the art of staying active at work, you must first master the art of microbreaks. Use your watch or phone to set a timer to remind yourself to stand, walk to the water fountain or stretch every hour. Take a stroll to the other side of your building, march in place or stretch a bit. These microbreaks do not have to be long — just a few minutes has shown to be beneficial. These microbreaks not only counteract the effects of sitting but also boost brain function, improving focus and productivity.

2. Break out those “deskercises”

These are small but mighty exercises you do at your desk. You can discreetly do seated leg lifts, trace the alphabet with your ankles or do chair squats. Engaging in these exercises at your desk can help promote blood circulation, prevent stiffness and help you burn a few extra calories! For an added challenge, try some walking lunges in place or keeping a pair of small weights at your desk! Check out the Better Health in 90 below for more information. (anchor link)

3. Incorporate lunchtime movement

I always sit, eat and work during my lunch in the interest of time and productivity. This is a case of do as I say, not as I do. Breaks can improve productivity! Instead of eating at your desk, use this time to escape your office space. Spend 20-30 minutes eating and then the remainder of your lunch break going for a walk around the building, to a nearby park or in your office. Only have a 30-minute break for lunch? Try packing (or picking up) a lunch that you can eat on the go, so you can walk and eat!

4. Standing Desks

Standing desks have soared in popularity over the last couple of years — and for good reason! Standing desks have been shown to help reduce back pain and appear to help improve energy, mood and productivity. If a standing desk isn’t in your budget, don’t worry, you’ve got options! Try elevating your computer and keyboard using a high countertop, boxes, or books. During the pandemic, I moved my computer to my kitchen island and used a couple of shoe boxes to prop up my computer so it was eye level. Not only was this FREE, but it also helped with the neck pain I was experiencing!

5. Challenge your coworkers

Elevate your company culture and camaraderie by initiating office fitness challenges. It could be a step count competition or weekly workouts in a shared space (we’ve done this at Apex and had a blast!). Sometimes just knowing you have around you with shared health goals can make staying active more doable and enjoyable. Consider using fitness tracking apps like Caliber, Strava or Charity Miles to monitor progress and celebrate milestones as a team.

Remember, staying active doesn’t always require a 30-minute session at the gym. Small and sustainable strategies, like those mentioned above, can help you integrate movement throughout the work day and get you moving without ever having to set foot in a gym. Break free from the chains of your desk and embrace a more active you — your body and mind will thank you!

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