Anyone working full-time will understand the struggle of trying to maintain fitness without getting fired from your nine-to-five for slacking. The good news for those of us who spend most of our waking hours at the office is that recent research shows that “weekend warriors”—those who do the majority of their exercise at the weekend—still have improved health outcomes and reap the positive benefits associated with regular exercise. However, even if you’re running a marathon on Saturday and boot camping all day Sunday, not doing enough movement across the working week can have a negative impact on mood, as well as on posture and muscle tone. Read these tips on how to squeeze every minute and maximize fitness opportunities.
If you’re in an office full of people you don’t know very well, this one might be tricky to adopt, but for home workers or those in less busy workspaces, a bit of desk yoga can work wonders for posture in under five minutes. Try a seated mountain pose (sit with a strong, straight back and your arms raised above your head with your fingertips touching), a nice side stretch, or try the “arm challenge”—hold both arms out horizontally, then move them in small circles, rotating from the shoulder. See how long you can hold them for!
Active Lunch Break
All too often, people work through their own lunch break, eating at their desks. Not only is this bad for posture, it doesn’t help concentration or productivity. Take 15 minutes if that is all you can spare, and make sure you leave your desk. Walk around the office, go up and down the stairs to stretch your legs, or go for an amble around the block. Don’t forget to eat your lunch, mindfully if possible. Eating whilst working is bad for satiety and can lead to snacking later in the afternoon.
After two hours of sitting, the circulation to the feet and lower legs is drastically reduced. Keep your blood flowing, and your muscles healthy, with some simple feet and lower leg exercises. With your feet flat on the floor, lift your toes for a gentle calf and ankle stretch. To get your abs involved, lift the feet about one inch off the floor, then raise your legs so they are horizontal in front of you. Repeat as many times as you need to.
These are some simple ideas to get you started. If you have longer breaks within the working day there are more opportunities for more intensive movement. However, little and often will still have amazing benefits for mood, posture, and strength. Set a reminder on your phone, or write a little note on your desk at work, so that you don’t forget to keep moving.