Workplace wellness is all the buzz these days. We know sitting is the new smoking so we need to sit less, move more and on and on. But for anyone who works in an office, putting in a traditional 9 to 5 week, it’s hard to actually do most of what we’re being told.
For example, how are you going to stand up more if your job requires you to sit in front of your computer all day?
For many of us, there aren’t a lot of opportunities during the working day to get up and walk around. Not unless you want a lot of strange looks from co-workers or worse, your boss.
So how do we bring more movement into our work day without setting off alarm bells that we are skiving? It takes a bit of stealth.
Here are six ways to bring some more movement into your work day which shouldn’t raise too many eyebrows:
1. Stand on your way to work and on your way home.
Obviously this is only for people who don’t drive to work. If you take public transportation, stay standing during your commute. You can even do a bit of stretching while you are standing there. Gently tilt your head to the left and hold for thirty seconds, then repeat on the other side. Do this forward and back too. Also, make fists with your hands and then stretch your fingers out and repeat as many times as you can before you feel fatigue in your hands. You can do this stretch with your hands while you walk down the street too.
2. Drink more water and when you are in the bathroom cubicle, do some stretches.
Using the bathroom is one break you are allowed to take as often as you like so use the opportunity. And when you’re in the cubicle, do as many shoulder rolls as you can before you feel fatigued. It may seem strange, but the privacy of the bathroom cubicle is sometimes the only place you can do a bit of stretching or exercise during the day.
3. Walk during your lunch break.
You get a lunch break, so take it. But use it to move. Get up, go outside and walk for at least 15 minutes. Walk up and down the street if you have to, but don’t sit during your lunch break. Your body needs the change of position and it’ll boost your circulation for the afternoon. You don’t have to go to the gym, but don’t just sit there. You can eat after you’ve walked.
4. Don’t let other people bring you tea or coffee.
Get up and get your coffee or tea or water yourself. Every little chance you have to stand up and move is a moment of giving your body a break from the relentless sitting. Put your palms flat on the small of your back and feel the stretch across your chest while you wait for the kettle to boil.
5. Use the stairs.
This is a great way to get you moving that little extra bit more. So if your office has stairs, use them. If you can, step up two or three stairs ahead, then lean into that front leg a bit and feel the stretch across your thigh. Now repeat with the other leg and so on.
6. Organise a group stretching break and/or walking.
Exercise gurus are always recommending that we employ other people to keep us on track when it comes to sticking to our exercise goals. This can work at the office too. Organise a 20-minute lunchtime stretch session with some of your colleagues. Find an empty meeting room and do gentle stretches altogether. You can each take turns leading the group. Use Bob Anderson’s book, Stretching, as a guide.
You can also get a group walking at lunch. The more people you get involved, the more likely you are to do it. A few times around the block will do.
Seize any opportunity you can to move during the day. Your body will thank you.