By Mandy Enright, MS, RDN, RYT, Guest Blogger
Have you heard that sitting in the new smoking? Sedentary behavior leads to slower metabolism, reduced muscle mass, and increased weight gain. Not to mention lack of cardiovascular activity leading to increased risk of heart disease. If you feel like your work days run too long and can negatively impact your ability to exercise, check out these ways you can move more while at work.
- Find Creative Movement: Exercise isn’t just about jogging and lifting weights. Any movement you can get in your day can be beneficial to your heart, health, and weight. If you have a tendency to sit at work a good part of the day, find some ways to creatively add movement throughout the day:
- Don’t keep a trash can or printer near your desk – this will force you to get up and walk to the trash or grab your printouts.
- Take a few extra laps when going to the restroom – on your way to or from the restroom, take a few laps around your office space before returning to your desk.
- Take the stairs – have a staircase that is accessible to or from your office? Leave the elevator for certain occasions and take the stairs whenever possible.
- Chat Face to Face with Coworkers – need to discuss something with a colleague? Rather than picking up the phone to call/text them or sending them an email, take a stroll over to their desk.
- Get a Headset: if you spend a lot of time on the phone for work, don’t tie yourself to your desk. Get a headset that allows you to stand and walk around while you’re on your calls.
- Walking Meetings: Have a group meeting or one-on-one with a coworker? Suggest going for a Walk & Talk meeting outdoors or around the office instead of sitting in a conference room.
- Get Outside: Exposure to sunlight not only improves mood, but also helps to boost our immunity through vitamin D production. Stepping away from your desk and office environment for a few moments to get outdoors allows you to clear you head, reduce stress and practice mindfulness. Return to work a calmer person.
- Use Your Surroundings: Do you work in an office park or large campus that has access to outdoor walking areas? Take advantage of that space! Perhaps your office building has a fitness facility with amenities like classes or personal trainers. Companies have these benefits for their employees to take care of themselves and be healthier, so make sure you’re taking advantage. If you work in a large city and commute, consider options to extend your walking time to work or get off the bus or subway one stop earlier.
- Move & Stretch in Your Chair: Take stretch breaks in your chair and at your desk throughout the work day. Taking short stretch breaks throughout the day helps to increase mobility and increase flow of oxygen throughout the body. Consider investing in a resistance band to keep at your desk so you can work to build muscle (and relieve stress) while doing resistance exercises at work.
- Schedule a Walking Meeting with Your Furry Friend: If you have a dog and are lucky enough to work in an office where you can bring your pet to work for Best Friend Friday, or maybe work from home, make sure you’re taking your dog out for a walk a few times a day. Your furry friend will make sure you get up and about throughout the day. Fido loves fresh air and walks too!
- Schedule time for YOU! You will never get active if you don’t make it a priority for yourself. Schedule time in your calendar for breaks, workouts, and opportunities to get out of the office at some point in the day. Block out specific times on your calendar when possible so you have that time set aside for you. If you don’t make yourself and your health a priority, no one else will do it for you.
Fitting movement into your day shouldn’t take away or interfere with your work obligations. In fact, fitting in different forms of exercise into your day can help to relieve stress, find focus, and improve energy levels. So you’re doing you and your job a favor when you take the time to be active while at work.
Written by Mandy Enright, MS, RDN, RYT, a registered dietitian and fitness instructor based at the Jersey Shore.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.
The American Heart Association’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.