It’s hard to stay active when you’re working 9-5, Monday to Friday. But there are a few things you can do in the office, and at your desk to ensure you’re getting some exercise in.
Research shows, sitting in the same position for long periods of time stiffens and cramps your muscles, hip muscles become tightened from lack of movement and inevitably leads to bad posture and back pain, among other illnesses.
Choosing the right office chair is tricky. Everyone has different needs, and no one chair will suffice for a 40 hour working week. What we have to keep in mind, is that we were not built to sit for 8 hours a day, and therefore have to take every chance we get to stand up, stretch and take a short walk.
Some tips for staying active at work are:
• Standing up every 10 minutes or so and stretching – this will refresh you, loosen your muscles and circulate blood around your body
• Walking to a colleagues desk to talk to them, instead of emailing them
• Alternate between sitting and standing while working –research has shown that your body needs to perpetually interact with gravity through motion in order to function optimally.
• Take your hour lunch; it may only take 10-15 minutes to eat, but for the remainder of the time, you could go for a walk and explore the outdoors
• Park further away from the office so you can get those extra few steps in
• If you train it to work, you could get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator
• Organise your office space in such a way that you have to stand, move about and stretch to get files you use regularly
• Maybe even alternate chairs so your posture isn’t stuck in one position for the entire day
Your work chair should support your lower back, while the chair itself is set in a reclined position. You could always alternate between different chairs and an exercise ball; Kinnarps sell the ‘Boullée’; a multi-faceted piece combining the properties of an ergonomic pilates ball and a piece of sculptural upholstered furniture. This kind of chair constantly engages the abdominal muscles, which improves core strength, posture, balance and stability. And it looks better than a pilates ball in the office! Read more on the Boullée at: http://bit.ly/2bBfkx5
After you’ve mastered all the ways to keep active in the office, you can start to think about keeping active after work. Naturally, you feel very tired, and going to the gym can seem like a herculean task, but there are other ways to exercise after work, without even feeling like you’ve exercised! Going for a 15 minute walk shortly after dinner aids digestion and improves your sugar levels, not to mention it will relax you before bed, which effectively leads to a better night’s sleep.