5 Ways to Shape Up While at Work
January 5, 2015
It’s the beginning of the new year, and our resolutions are (hopefully) still fresh on our minds. Most New Year’s resolutions include ways to improve health. Lucky for us, the month of January is National Shape Up Month. With the holidays being over, we are back to work, and the age-old excuse of being too tired or busy to hit the gym creeps in. While this struggle is a reality for most of us, there are actually several ways to incorporate health-benefiting activities while working at the office. That’s what we call “killing two birds with one stone!”
Take Breaks and Move Around
Who thought that taking a break could be so difficult? While you would think that we would be jumping at the idea of taking a break from work, most of us get caught up in the fast-pace, busy environment of the office and forget to take a time-out. Try to take about a five minute break every 45 minutes to an hour. There are several phone and computer apps specifically designed to remind you to take breaks, or just simply set an egg timer.
When the clock strikes break-time, we know it may be very tempting to surf the web or even take a quick power nap at your desk. Instead, get up and take a stroll around the office or outside. The simple act of walking provides tons of health benefits such as contributing to weight loss and improving your memory. And taking breaks from your desk will help prevent aches and tension and eyestrain.
Even when you’re not on your 15 minute break, try to move around and stay active as much as possible. Instead of conversing through email or phone, try to get up from your desk and discuss matters in person. If you can, walk to lunch or even to and from work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Implementing these simple steps in keeping active during the day can benefit you in more ways that you probably expected.
Bring Lunch and Snack Healthfully
We know how easy it is to get into the routine of choosing whatever is fast or convenient to eat for lunch. But the fast food joint around the corner isn’t the healthiest choice, especially when it becomes a habit. Bringing healthy, home-cooked meals on a daily basis can better your health and keep you in shape. This way, you are in control and aware of the ingredients you put into your body each day. And not only will packing your lunch keep you healthier, but it will also save you money.
Also, be mindful of how you’re snacking when around the office. You may be snacking more than you realize. A recent study showed that over 40% of office workers surveyed in Britain gained six pounds a year from just snacking at work. So, if you’re going to snack at the office, opt for healthier snacks such as fruit or nuts.
Exercise at Your Desk
That’s right— we’re talking about “deskercising”. You no longer have the excuse of not having the time for the gym when you have these new-age workout moves. While the number of in-office exercises abound, here are a just few moves to get you started:
– The Leg Raiser: You can do this simple exercise while seated. Start by straightening both legs and hold this position for five seconds. Then lower your legs back down without letting your feet touch the floor. Repeat for 10 reps. If this isn’t enough, try placing your purse or brief case on top of your legs for added weight.
– New Age Curl: Workout your biceps with a water bottle or a stapler. This exercise can be done standing or sitting. Start by taking the object of your choosing in one hand with palms facing upwards. Just like a normal dumbbell bicep curl, start at the thighs then bend the elbow and curl your arm up to your chest. Repeat for 12 reps, then alternate arms.
– The Tapper: This one is quite simple— all you have to do is speedily tap your toes on the floor under your desk.
– Chair Squats: Stand in front of your chair and repeat sitting down and standing up 10 times three times a day.
– Assisted Desk Push-Up: Lean up against your desk and push yourself away from the desk while in a leaning position. Repeat this three times a day for 10 repetitions.
Drink Plenty of Water
While we know the water cooler is most commonly utilized as the meeting place for chatting with your workmates, it should be used more for its intended purpose. The health benefits of drinking 8-10 glasses of water throughout the day are numerous, and every office is equipped with plenty of water. Here are just a few reasons why drinking lots of water is beneficial for your health:
– Calorie control: Numerous studies have shown that drinking water can help with weight loss. Why? Water aids in making you feel full, and as a result, you consume fewer calories.
– Muscle fuel: Sweating at the gym (or at your desk in this case) causes muscles to lose water, which in turn, makes them tire out faster. For a boost of energy, try drinking water to push through your gym routine or deskercises.
– Clearer skin: Water flushes out the toxins that causes the skin to become inflamed, which can reduce the risk of clogged pores and acne.
– Less fatigue: One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is tiredness. So, that afternoon crash you’re experiencing may not have anything to do with that big lunch you had— you may just need to be drinking more H20.
– Aids in better digestion: Drinking enough water adds fluids to the colon, which in turn, keeps things flowing along in your gastrointestinal tract.
Maintain Good Posture
Your mom had good reason for constantly telling you to sit up straight and to stop slouching. There are numerous benefits of maintaining good posture, and sitting at a desk all day can really cause that straight back of yours to slump. There are several ways that good posture will benefit both your mind and body. Some of these include:
– Improvement of organ function
– Reduction of tension and pain in neck, shoulders, and back
– Increase of concentration and performance
– Prevention of humped shoulders
– Prevention of the “beer belly”
To maintain good posture while sitting at your desk, adjust your chair height to ensure that your feet, hips, and arms are at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Keep your chest lifted and your chin level, as if you were balancing a book on your head. Avoid slouching and leaning forward, and engage your core to keep you sitting upright.
At OHC, we assist you with your on-the-job health concerns, but we believe that prevention is always better than the cure. Join us in jump starting a year of better health by implementing these tips in your workplace for National Shape Up Month.
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