If you're sitting here reading this at work, I want you to take a moment to think about what you've done for the past few hours. Chances are you may have gotten out of your chair for water or a bathroom break, but most of your time has probably been spent sitting at your desk. Regardless of what office job you're doing, chances are you're mostly sedentary throughout your day. I mean come on, having job responsibilities is enough, why would you want to move more than you need to right? All jokes aside, being productive in your workplace is tough if you're not taking breaks and moving your body enough. When you're sitting for long periods of time, your circulation is affected, your muscles get stiff, and your eyes are strained from staring at whatever you've been working on for who knows how long. Ultimately, you lose focus and end up thinking about how badly you want to relax after you get home. So how do you avoid the mid-day lull and keep your motivation going? Move around. Here are some ways to incorporate exercise into your work day:
If your commute allows for it conveniently, find different ways of getting to work. Not only will you save money by using your car less (think long term, maintenance!), but you will be able to get a nice walk or bike in before getting into the office. Your muscles will get a good stretch, and your circulation will be jumpstarted. If you break into a little sweat or get the heart rate going, even better! Additionally, challenge yourself to take different routes every day. This breaks the learned behavior of driving the same old route every morning, which benefits you in two ways: you feel happier because you're not repeating a mundane routine, and your brain gets more exercise earlier in the morning. Win win!
I'm not saying set up a mini gym in your cubicle, but there are a few compact things that you can keep lying around your desk drawers that will help you stay active without having to go very far. For example, sit on a giant exercise ball instead of a normal office chair to promote better posture. And when you're taking a break, it's always fun to bounce around on it. Exercise bands are great because they can go anywhere with you, and you can just stand up and do some quick curls, extensions, or even stretches. Stress balls not only relieve stress, but help with circulation to your arms and hands. Take a 10 minute break every hour you’re on the computer, and shake out your hands and squeeze the ball to avoid carpal tunnel or tendonitis. Check out these exercises you can do without having to leave your desk. Many times if it's for the sake of being healthy in the workplace, your boss will likely be more than happy to provide these things for you! Just ask!
This may seem too obvious, but in this day and age of constantly being connected to our electronics, our "breaks" may consist of leaning back in the office chair and playing on our phones or surfing the web. Instead, try to remove yourself from the computer screen and get outside for some fresh air. You may not notice it until you actually get out there, but getting fresh air is one of the best ways to get over the afternoon lull. Especially if you've just finished eating lunch, a nice walk around the block will make you feel less heavy and lethargic. Plus, getting outside is the best way to take a mental break at work. Staying inside the office and looking at things that remind of you of work will only add to your stress. Move yourself to a different environment, relax for a bit, and take some deep breaths. You will feel ready to take on the rest of the day with the same energy as you had in the morning.
Work might not necessarily be the most sought after part of our day, but at least you can make the most of it. Don't let the sedentary nature of your office job dictate the rest of your day. Sitting can be more tiring than you'd think, and it can carry over to when you get home and plop down on the couch from exhaustion of sitting all day. Get up, move around, and don't let your energy levels get taken away by that office chair of yours.