Sitting at your desk for hours on end is not only a hindrance to productivity — it can also cause back/neck/shoulder pain, muscle strain, headaches, and other physical problems.
“Immobility is your enemy,” said Julia Valentour, a health and fitness specialist at the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in HealthyAdvice.com. “People were not meant to sit still for hours on end. You should get up and move around for at least five minutes of every hour to keep your mind alert and your body healthy.”
The following are some key ways workers can stay fit while at the office.
Get out of your desk chair at least once an hour
You can stand or pace around your desk while taking a phone call, or walk to a coworker’s desk instead of using the phone. If you can stand while working, that can double your metabolic rate, since your muscles must expend energy to hold your body upright, says LiveStrong.com. Several employees at RingCentral have chosen to install adjustable desks that allow them to stand while working.
Use hand-held weights or resistance bands at your desk to use during short breaks or while taking calls on speakerphone. You can also replace your office chair with a fitness ball, suggests MayoClinic.com, which helps you tone your core and improve your balance while sitting. At RingCentral, we keep weights scattered around the office for anyone needing a quick weight-lifting session.
Skip the coffee or lunch break
You can spend your 15-minute break or even lunch hour walking or jogging outside. After all, exercise will get your blood pumping more than a cup of coffee or large lunch. Bring a pair of jogging/walking shoes so you have no excuse.
Travel and Commute
If you can walk or bike to work, by all means do it. If you take the train or bus, try walking around while waiting for them. If you travel for work, find a hotel with a gym or swimming pool.
Originally published Oct 15, 2012, updated Aug 07, 2020