The benefits of exercise in reducing stress and supporting the overall health of your body are well known. If you sit in an office at a desk all day, then you may feel you are forced to exercise only outside of work hours by walking, running or engaging in a fitness program at a gym. While this is certainly helpful, you remain fixed at your desk for hours on end each day. Essentially, you have a sedentary lifestyle interrupted by intense periods of exercise.
If you can add small bits of exercise to your day, throughout the day, the health benefits multiply. Keeping your muscles and heart working harder at various intervals during the day helps to reduce stress and builds endurance. Some people have developed a set of specific exercise routines that you can perform while sitting at your desk. That may work, but performing an exercise routine that distracts you from working where you count repetitions, breathe heavily and build up a sweat may create unwanted attention from your boss and co-workers.
You can make a few small adjustments to your work routine that will keep your body moving and add many minutes of exercise to your daily life. Begin with the place you park your car at work. Don’t pick the closest spot you can find next to the building. Park your car in the far corner so you have to walk a hundred yards each way. If your office is on a lower level of a skyscraper, take the stairs on the way up. At first, climbing three flights of stairs may leave you feeling breathless, but soon your muscles will strengthen and you will find the going much easier.
If your office is on the twelfth floor, walk up the first few floors and take the elevator from there. Of course, walking back down a few more flights of stairs is much easier. While we’re talking about the staircase, each time you get up to use the restroom, choose a restroom two floors up or down from your own. Take the stairs to the bathroom and you’ll be more relaxed when you get there. You will also feel stronger when you return.
If you spend hours on the phone each day, try standing up while talking. You’ll use more muscles and energy when you stand up compared to sitting and your voice will project better into the phone as your diaphragm relaxes. If you can make it work, replace your chair for as many hours as possible with a large inflatable exercise ball. Sitting on this ball as you work keeps the muscles in your legs, ankles and abdomen working to maintain your balance and forces you to maintain a good posture.
If you take breaks for lunch or coffee, add a ten-minute walk as part of the break. Better yet, use ten-minute walks as a quick stress-relieving tool and as a way to talk about an important or urgent topic with someone else. There is no need to sit at your desk and feel the stress level rise as the topic is introduced when you can keep the stress low while getting some exercise by walking and talking at the same time. Keep calm, be creative and keep moving for better health and optimal performance, all day long.