Do you work an office job, like we do, and find yourself sitting at your desk for most of the day? If so, this article is for you! While your desk job may keep your brain active during the day, the rest of your body is usually not engaged without some extra effort on your part.
Regular movement is so important for our bodies! It has a huge positive impact on our physical and mental health. Being active throughout your work day can improve your overall mood, eliminate the discomfort you feel from sitting with bad posture, and boost your productivity and energy. That, my friends, is a win-win situation!
Let’s look at 5 ways you can implement more movement into your daily work schedule.
1. Set a “stand & stretch” timer.
Picture this: You’re in the zone and completing your work tasks, one after the other. All of a sudden, you glance at the clock – it’s nearly noon! Have you really been sitting for four hours already?
If this sounds like you, maybe you could set a “stand and stretch” timer on your phone at regular intervals throughout the day. Once an hour, aim to get out of your chair to get your blood flowing to your extremities again, and engage your muscles. It will allow you to return back to work energized and ready to be productive.
2. Do leg exercises under your desk.
There are plenty of exercises you can do while still sitting in your chair – you just need to get creative! Here are a few ideas:
Pedaling your feet
Stick your feet out in front of you, with or without a bend in your knees, and pick your feet off the ground. Next, using alternating movements, raise and lower them like you are pretending to walk in mid air. This will engage several muscles in your legs and core. Keep this up for several minutes and I promise you will be feeling the burn in no time!
Leg raises (ankle weights optional)
This next exercise can be done with or without added weight. Sitting in your chair, stick your legs out straight in front of you while you raise and lower them together. If you don’t have ankle weights, try balancing a book or water bottle on your ankles or shins to make this exercise more challenging.
This exercise can be done sitting or standing. Place your feet flat on the ground, and then slowly raise onto the balls of your feet, feeling your calves engage, and then slowly lower your heels down to the ground.
After you do these exercises, don’t forget to hydrate and stretch afterwards!
3. Consider a standing desk.
Experts recommend 15 minutes of standing for every hour spent sitting. Using a standing desk is a great way to meet this goal. Switching positions often and stretching your legs frequently helps you to not have poor posture. It can also help to have a clear mind.
Ready to take this one step further? (No pun intended!) Invest in a walking pad. There are many options available, like this one, that are discreet, quiet, and easily stored away when not in use. With a walking pad under your desk, you can burn calories while you work and reach your daily step goal in no time!
4. Enlist others for accountability.
Did you know that achieving your goals is easier when you have someone trying to accomplish the same goals beside you? Introducing an accountability plan is a great way to get moving with some support around you.
Here at MBS, we started a “Get Moving” challenge that our whole team participates in. Each day we are tasked with doing a 15 minute exercise of our choice. When we have completed this, we share in our group chat a small description or picture of what we did to “Get Moving” that day. Each day that we complete this activity, we receive a “Wellness Point”. At the end of our challenge, the amount of “Wellness Points” that we have collected will qualify us for a small prize!
From our personal experience, we find that sharing our daily accomplishments helps us to feel encouraged, keeps us accountable, and overall brings a sense of camaraderie to our workplace.
According to the CDC, worksite wellness programs that promote physical activity not only benefit employees, but employers, too. Having these programs can increase employee productivity, reduce absenteeism, increase employee morale, and help you attract and keep high-quality employees.
5. Take a walk on your lunch break.
Taking a quick walk on your lunch break has so many benefits that you just can’t argue against it! It is proven to improve your happiness, health, and productivity. Walking is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety that might be associated with your work tasks. It can also put some much needed distance between you and your work, allowing you to decompress and gear up for the rest of your day!
Now that you know what benefits can come from implementing movement to your work day, we encourage you to try out these tips to add more activity to your desk job. We promise – your body & brain will thank you for it!