Fitness habits at work boost your creativity, break up your office routine and simply make you happy. Start with baby steps, like drinking enough water, and other ways to exercise at your workplace, and perhaps one day, you will lead your entire company into a healthy future.
Always keep in mind that it is essential to find your own pace and method of exercising to stay motivated over the long term. In the world of fitness and smart exercise, consistency is the key to success. So, there is pressure on you to be the sportiest, or fittest, guy in your company – instead, focus on the pure fun and enjoyment of exercise.
It is not only about bulky muscles and having a fancy, well-equipped gym in the office. Promoting a healthy working environment generates benefits for both employees and employers. For the employee it means more job satisfaction, increased self-esteem, and a warm feeling of wellbeing. For the employer – a supportive, healthy environment means increased productivity, reduced health costs, and a smaller turnover of staff. So, for employer and employee it will pay to check out ways of getting, and staying, fit in the office.
Five Fitvize Tips for Your Workplace Wellness
1. Go out during your lunch break. It is the perfect time to explore new things, like outdoor restaurants in the neighbourhood that might take a half an hour of moderate pace walking to reach. Incidentally, 30 minutes of moderate pace walking is exactly the amount of daily physical activity recommended by major health organizations, and the latest health researches.
2. Join a lunch-time activity club. Walking, jogging, stretch class etc. Progressive employers encourage participation by allowing staff, who are active, to have an extended lunchtime. Remember, all you need is a half an hour of moderate activity. Plan a route that takes 20 – 30 minutes to walk at a brisk pace. Try to find walks that are interesting and can be easily varied.
For example, the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company has implemented, “John Hancock Walkers,” which provides a lunchtime walking program for employees, their friends, and their families. The program is designed with flexibility in mind so members can either drop in occasionally, or attend on a regular basis. The walkers are divided into slow, medium, and fast, and each sub-group is led by a volunteer leader. The only expense is a pair of walking shoes.
3. Take ANY activity break. Being active regularly is the key to good health. This does not only mean jogging and aerobics. Find five minutes each day to stretch, and release the tensions of a long meeting, or a demanding day at work. Even a short set of exercises will help to relax and stretch tense muscles. These can be organized as a group activity or on an individual basis.
Proper stretching routines can be taught by a voluntary leader in an office, or on the factory floor during a break or at lunch-time. Also, employees can be given workout sheets, either manually, or, if they use a computer terminal, provided as a visual program on screen.
4. Take a fresh air break. Encourage staff to go outside at least once a day for five minutes to get some fresh air. A break outside will be a healthy interlude from the work routine, and will be particularly valuable to people involved in repetitive work.
And a few minor, sure-fire ways to get you moving at work:
- Conduct standing meetings (preferably, for up to 15 min)
- Conduct walking meetings outdoors (for simple discussion), and if the weather is reasonable
- Stand up and pace while taking or receiving phone calls
- Change positions regularly
- Walk to colleagues’ offices instead of calling
- Stand up when anyone walks into your office
- Take the stairs, whenever possible, instead of the elevator. For a better workout, take the steps two at a time.
- Mind your posture. From time to time roll both shoulders backward in a circular motion (ten times).
5. Perform a few stretching exercises, such as:
Stretches Toolkit in the Office
- Neck stretches. Sit comfortably with your shoulders stable. Carefully lift your chin toward the ceiling to stretch the front of your neck. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, then relax and lower your chin. While exhaling, tilt your right ear toward your right shoulder, looking straight ahead. Release. Than tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder. Release.
- Arm and wrist stretches. Stretch your arm out with the palm down. With your other hand, pull your fingers down and hold for a few seconds. Then pull up on your fingers and hold for a few seconds in this position. Repeat for the other arm.
- Spine stretches. Sit straight in your chair. Inhale, and pull your abdominals in. While exhaling, push your lower back backwards, and stretch forward with your arms at the same time (making a C- curve with your body). Come back while inhaling, and repeat 5-6 times.
- The Spine twist. Sit up straight and pull your navel up and into your spine. Exhale and twist your torso to the right staying perched on the top of your hips while squeezing your buttocks and legs together tightly. Repeat the movement to the left, and try to imagine you are wringing the air out of your body as you would water from a wet towel. Repeat 4 times for each side.
- Calf stretches. Hold onto the copy machine for balance. Lift one leg to the rear. Try to kick your buttocks with the heel of your other leg. Repeat with another leg.
And one more tip as a free little bonus: Laugh often! It tightens your stomach muscles, exercises your diaphragm, works your heart, and relieves stress!