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Work and Exercise – Better Together

Exercise boasts many benefits - it burns calories; decreases the risk for many chronic diseases; reduces or prevents, high blood pressure; lessens feelings of depression and anxiety; strengthens bones and muscles; and improves mood.

For many people, finding time to exercise before or after work is difficult. But physical activity need not be separate from work. Several research studies have found that people are more productive and in better moods at work when they exercise during the day. Here are some tips to help you reach your physical activity goals while you work.

Use a Balance Ball
Exchanging your desk chair for a balance ball is an easy way to improve your health immediately. A balance ball requires the body to constantly adjust in order to achieve stability and proper alignment of the spine. The body must use the core muscles - the abdominals, hips and back - to achieve this. Not only will a balance ball improve your posture, but it will give you a low impact workout throughout the day.

Maximize Your Breaks
Everyone needs a break during the day. Using this time to exercise is a great way to improve mental clarity and circulation. Take 15 minutes to go for a brisk walk outside or in the parking garage; use resistance bands; do some wall sits, leg extensions, or chair dips. If you are able to do this twice a day, you've met your recommended amount of physical activity for the day.

Take the Stairs for Everything
Stop taking the elevator or the escalator. Take the stairs anytime you need to do something, even if it's on the same floor. For example, if you need to use the bathroom, take the stairs to the top floor and use the bathroom there. Take the stairs two at a time for more of a challenge.

Exercise at Lunch
For many people, lunch is the only flexible time during the day. Consider getting a group of coworkers together for 30 minutes to do some walking, a yoga video, or weights. You could even approach Human Resources to chat about setting up a treadmill or vibration machine at your premises. This could be used within your lunchbreaks or before or after work.

Stand When You Can
Various studies suggest that prolonged sitting is horrible for health and increases mortality. Try standing at least a couple of times an hour - when you're on the phone, reading something, organizing, filing, or just taking a break. You'll burn more calories and improve your circulation every time you stand up.

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