Working in an office environment can have its pros and cons. For most of us, one of the cons is the lack of mobility we have during our weekday. Sitting at a desk nine hours a day for five days straight can really take a toll on our bodies when it comes to living a healthy, active lifestyle. We’ve all heard the propaganda “sitting is the new smoking.” However dramatic that may seem, there is some truth to the detrimental effects a sedentary lifestyle can create. Instead of becoming a statistic, take some time to learn how to bring more activity into the workday. These seven tips will help you incorporate movement back into the office.

  1. Stand Up More: Sitting for eight hours a day can cause tight muscles, sore backs and necks, and decreased blood circulation. The simple act of standing up can make a huge difference in the office, and there are a couple different ways to make this a habit.
    • Setting a friendly reminder on your phone for every two or three hours could be a quick fix. When the timer goes off, take a mental break by stepping away from the computer, standing, and shaking the legs out for a minute.
    • Invest in a standing desk. Standing desks can help you find balance between sitting and standing throughout the day. Most standing desks adjust their height with very little effort and can be switched as needed. Switching to standing can help keep your body mobile and your mind alert, helping to battle that 3:00 p.m. mental crash most of us experience. Don’t have the budget for a standing desk? No problem. Taking sturdy boxes and placing them on your desk is an easy and cost-free way to change to a standing desk, especially if you use a laptop for work.
  2. Take a Stroll (Instead of Calling): It is easy to pick up the phone and call someone down the hall to ask a quick question, but communication is a great opportunity to stand and move a little. The act of walking down the hall only takes an extra thirty seconds and face-to-face interactions could be more beneficial than a quick chat over the phone.

  3. Kevin doing a pull up
  4. Get in Simple Exercises: While there are many exercises that are not ideal for an office environment, there are a few simple moves that require minimal equipment and effort in addition to being great for small spaces.
    • Bicep Curls – All you need is a set of dumbbells for the office. Curls don’t involve too much sweating or movement, so office clothing isn’t an issu• Tricep Exercises – Extensions and kickbacks require minimal movement and don’t raise your heart rate, making this an easy office exercise.
    • Chair Dips – Tricep dips using a stable office chair are a quick way to use your surroundings to exercise on a break.
    • Squats – These exercises for strengthening your quads, hamstrings, and calves do not require a lot of space, and most clothing is designed to move with your body in a squat.
    • Push-Ups – These might be a little more difficult given your office space, but push-ups can be adapted for all fitness levels. Push-ups on your toes, on your knees, or against the wall can help keep you moving without too much strain.
    • Pull-Ups – With one simple piece of equipment, activating your back muscles at work can be easily accessible. You can place and move a pull-up bar on any door frame in the office and get a workout in. If you are not quite at that level yet, ask a coworker to be a support anchor for you. They can get an arm workout in by taking some of the load off your pull-up and help you get closer to your goals.
    • Calf Raises – If you’re already standing, why not activate the legs a little? Lifting and lowering the heels while working can help tone your calves without distracting from your work.
  5. Find a Buddy (for Food and Exercise): Self-motivation can be tough, but if you have someone in the office who has the same fitness goals and values as you do, it can be a lot easier. Having someone to help you make good food and exercise decisions can take the pressure off. Going as a duo to a healthy restaurant or taking a ten-minute break to exercise together can make a big difference down the line and help you make connections at the office.

  6. Stretch It Out: Sitting at a desk all day can have a lot of negative effects on your body, especially your muscles and flexibility. Stretching once a day can make a big difference. Simple stretches for the hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, and torso can really help how you feel throughout the day.Bobby Stretching
    • Hip-Flexor Stretches – In a low or high lunge, tilt the pelvis forward until you feel a stretch in the muscle where your leg meets your torso. Lizard pose and pigeon pose from yoga can also be great variations to deepen a stretch
    • Hamstring Stretch – Using the office is always a possibility when you need to stretch. Hamstrings can be stretched by standing in an upright position and folding at the waist, or by using a doorway for single-leg variations. Lying on your back, prop one heel on the wall of the door and slide your butt closer to the doorway until you feel a stretch. For a visual, see Bobby, our office yogi!
    • Glute Stretch – From simple to more advanced, glute stretches can be done sitting, standing, or lying down. If sitting, cross one ankle on top of the opposite thigh, creating a triangle or figure four. If lying down, this same figure-four stretch can be deepened by wrapping hands around the lower extended leg and hugging it to your chest. You can also lie on your back and hug one knee at a time into your chest to stretch the glutes. This can also be accomplished when standing.
    • Torso Stretches – To release back tension, a torso twist can be helpful. To stretch the side of your body, lift one arm up and over your head, gazing toward the ceiling, and lean over to one side; then switch. This can also be done standing for a more elongated stretch.
  7. Active Meetings (Standing or Walking): Meetings can be difficult in more ways than one. Sitting still for that long and listening to someone talk can send you into mental snooze mode. While this one may take a little more effort to implement, standing meetings can be beneficial physically and mentally. Staying on your feet can keep you more alert during your meeting. If the meeting is small (two to four people) and doesn’t involve a visual presentation, walking meetings could be a quick fifteen-minute solution to get out of the office and still be productive.

  8. Make Fitness Challenges in the Office: Fitness challenges are a way to build community in the office while maintaining an active lifestyle, and you would be surprised how well challenges can work when you already have a competitive office environment. There are a few different types of challenges you can incorporate:
    • Group races and events outside of the office such as Spartan races, relay races, mud runs, or 5/10Ks could be a great way to incorporate fitness into the office.
    • Monthly challenges like STEPtember (ten thousand steps a day) or Triple Nickel (push-ups, running, and sit-ups) are great ways for community and fitness to be incorporated for long periods in the office. Whether you choose steps, sit-ups, push-ups, or squats, any movement can help throughout the day.
Don’t just read about being more active; go ahead and put one of these tricks into action. Stand up and get moving!


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