Even though you’ve started your day with some form of exercise, don’t let it stop there, office workouts are great and very possible. We are told that we spend too much time sitting, apparently people who spend more than 8 hours a day sitting double their risk of heart disease compared to those sitting for 4 hours or less. It is also a key contributor to weight gain, which is itself linked to heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. If you add up the hours you sit at work plus sitting in your car or on the bus to get to work, then the time you sit relaxing in the evening it can add up to an excess of 10 hours! It is thought excessive sitting slows the metabolism – which affects our ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and metabolise fat – and may cause weaker muscles and bones.
There are a few things to do to reduce your sitting times
- stand on the train or bus
- take the stairs and walk up escalators
- place a laptop on a box or similar to work standing
- stand or walk around while on the phone
- take a walk break every time you take a coffee or tea break
- walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of emailing or calling
- swap some TV time for more active tasks or hobbies
When at work set yourself a reminder to stand up every half hour to walk around a bit. This will ensure continuous blood circulation in your arms and legs, and will keep them from getting too strained. Take walks to the water station to refill your glass. If you can afford to take longer breaks, take a short walk outside your building, and use the stairs instead of the elevator to go down. Aside from giving your legs and heart a good workout, you can take in some fresh air as well.
The impact of movement, even leisurely movement, can have a knock on effect, you’ll burn more calories, which may lead to weight loss and increased energy. Even better, the muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When you sit, these processes stall and your health risks increase. When you’re standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.
To combat the adverse effects of the 9-to-5 routine, speak to your personal trainer who will be able to give you some simple workplace workouts exercises that 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. It can also benefit your company as a little exercise improves concentration and actually makes you more productive.