Some Useful Exercises you can do at Work
You absolutely love your job! It's interesting, rewarding and challenging. It also might be hazardous to your health.
Office spaces are set up to require little movement, making it easy to gain weight. Before you know it, you've added 50 pounds (22.6 kilograms) on your frame. Besides increasing weight, desk jobs also increase the strain on your back, wrists, eyes and neck, and can result in a general loss of muscle tone.
Stress is another disadvantage of office work. A survey by Yale University shows that 29 percent of workers feel "quite a bit or extremely stressed at work." [Source: CDC]. This can lead to depression, cardiovascular disease, a lack of energy and other health issues. Also Sitting in an office chair all day most days of the week can increase your risk of early death, particularly from heart disease, suggests a study in the August 2010 issue of the “American Journal of Epidemiology.”
To combat the adverse effects of office work, it's important to exercise. But when can you find the time? Workplace workouts can help you make the most of your limited hours. With a little creativity, you can take advantage of the few minutes you have between pending deadlines and learn to exercise while you work.
For your company's benefit, squeezing in a little exercise improves concentration and actually makes you more productive. Here are some exercises to keep you healthy.
Large, inflatable exercise balls, called stability or Swiss balls, are easy to fit into almost any office space. Simply sub one in for your office chair and sit on it all day to improve the strength of your core muscles, including your abdominals and back. Between phone calls and data entry, you can use the stability ball to perform wall squats, abdominal crunches and pushups with your feet on the ball.
Resistance and Flexibility
Resistance tubing is portable, light and effective in strengthening your muscles. Stash one of these stretchy, rubber cords in your desk drawer and pull it out to get a brief strength-training workout in your cube or office. Hook the tubing around a firm base – a door knob, a heavy desk or even your own feet -- to perform rows. Stand on the band and press it up and overhead to do military presses and curl it up to do biceps curls. If you have a large enough space, you can store small dumbbells weighing 5 to 15 pounds under your desk to use for squats, chest presses and triceps extensions. A rolled up yoga mat takes up little space and gives you a clean, supporting surface for pushups and abdominal crunches. You can also use the mat to do light flexibility training such as seated forward folds, chest openers and back bends while still at your desk area.
If you have your own office and a flexible work environment, consider equipping the area with cardio training equipment, such as an elliptical trainer or stationary bicycle. Both are low impact so you can read work-related documents while training your heart and your lower body. You might also consider getting a treadmill desk – which is a tall desk positioned over a treadmill. While working, you walk at a slow pace – 1 to 2 miles per hour -- but end up burning 100 to 130 calories per hour versus the 50 or 60 you burn when sitting still.
Sneaky Fitness Strategies
If you are shy about busting out a full-on strength workout in your cubicle or space precludes it, you can still fit in more fitness at work. Opting for the stairs in lieu of the elevator, parking farther out in the lot and walking to deliver messages to colleagues instead of relying on email are small calorie-burning strategies that can add up by the end of the day. Use most of your lunch hour to take a long walk, leaving just enough time at the end for a healthy grab-and-go lunch such as yogurt and fruit. Even getting up for a five-minute jaunt down the hall every hour can help benefit your fitness levels. Consider making your morning and evening commute a time to exercise by investing in a bicycle to ride to and from work or just getting off the bus a few stops early.
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