When I talk in my development workshops about the necessity of physical activity to boost your mental and physical health, the first objection that people come up with is “TIME”. The majority of my participants will come up with one of the following arguments:
“With a full time job and kids at home, it is merely impossible to exercise” or “I wish I could but as you know with all the pressure that I have I can’t” or “ I want to start exercise but I need to sort out some stuff before that”.
Even though I know that for some people it might be harder than others, all of the above are excuses that can be handled with proper time management and organization.
So instead of fighting it, I have decided to find 3 simple ways to help people increase their physical fitness while at the office.
1- Replace your office chair by a swiss ball (gym/yoga ball):
According to Spineuniverse “sitting on a stability ball can improve stability and balance because doing so is said to constantly engage the core abdominal muscles. Stronger ab muscles protect the lower back and promote better posture, and can be the result of using the stability ball.”
How to do it: To get used to it, the first time you sit on the ball don’t sit for more than 20 minutes as your bottom and back will tend to hurt especially if are not used to it or if you have weak core muscles. Every day increase the time you sit on the ball till you spend at least half of your office sitting time on it. I know some people who have permanently replaced their office chairs with swiss balls.
2- Get yourself a pedometer:
Pedometers are inexpensive simple devices that will count your daily steps. Now there is even a free app “Stepometer” on iTunes and Google Play. With a Pedometer you will tend to increase your daily motion during office hours. One of my clients created a competition to see who of their employees totals more steps.
How to do it: Climb stairs instead of the elevator, park your car a little bit further (not on a rainy day), walk to the photocopier and/or make your own tea/coffee so you tend to move more during the day. Depending on your dress code, try to have comfortable shoes (even formal shoes can have a soft sole and thick inner paddings).
3- Stretch often:
Stretching is an excellent way to prevent injury and maintain your muscles in excellent condition. In addition stretching helps you have better circulation and blood flow to your muscles, improve posture, prevents pain and injury, relaxes you and improves your range of motion
How to do it: Employ the 20-20 rules, advises Alan Hedge, Ph.D., a professor of ergonomics at Cornell University. Every 20 minutes, stand for 20 seconds and stretch or shake things out. “Just 20 seconds away from your computer screen reduces fatigue and increases blood circulation,” says Hedge. Now you’ll have the power to sit up straight. And every 2 hours try the stretching exercises that are given on airplanes; remember you sit on your office chair far more than you sit on an airplane seat.
Those three simple changes in your lifestyle can create wonders in your health and fitness and it doesn’t take a lot of effort, so make it a habit.
Camil el Khoury