With so much of today’s business happening online, we spend a lot of time sitting at our computers. If you find yourself regularly feeling sluggish at work, sitting for extended periods of time could be the problem.
Whether you work from home or in an office, there are many ways to incorporate exercise into your workday without breaking a sweat. Try one of these four ways to get moving while working.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three people over age 65 fall each year. This is primarily due to decreased stability as a result of aging. As we age, our muscles, ligaments and tendons become tighter, shorter and weaker resulting in decreased balance. Factors like stress can cause these signs of aging to progress more quickly.
Balance training is key to improving stability and slowing the effects of aging. If your work allows it, increase activity by adding a balance disc to your desk chair. These inflatable cushions are a discreet and effective way to strengthen your core, which improves both balance and posture. While standing, improve your stability by practicing simple heel raises and one leg balance training.
Like stability, age also affects mobility. To combat declining mobility, a good stretch is a great place to start. Stretching during the workday, or any time you’re sitting for an extended period of time, is crucial to improving long-term mobility. At minimum, you should stretch every few hours and hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. The more often you stretch, the better.
Although all stretches are beneficial, some stretches are especially necessary depending on your profession. For more sedentary jobs, focus on stretching your hamstrings, forearms, hip flexors, neck, chest and abdomen. People with more active jobs should focus on stretching your quads, calves, upper back, lower back and seat.
The benefits of regular stretching include improved muscle conditioning, better posture, decreased muscle and joint pain and increased oxygen to the brain. To help you get started, the Mayo Clinic offers a useful guide to basic stretches.
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As an effective way to strengthen your heart, lungs and circulatory system, cardiovascular activity, or cardio, is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. Cardio exercise refers to any movement that increases your heart rate over an extended period of time. Some of the most common types of cardio include running, swimming and biking. However, there are many ways to incorporate a cardio workout into your day without leaving the office.
Cardio can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or marching in place while on a conference call—anything that gets your heart pumping. Research has shown that physical activity actually increases workplace productivity. When feasible, conduct meetings while walking outside or around the building instead of seated in a conference room. For additional motivation to get moving, use a fitness device to track activity during the workday.
Muscle strength directly affects our ability to independently perform life’s everyday activities, like lifting children or climbing stairs. Inactivity and aging are two factors that decrease muscle strength and make these everyday activities more difficult. Resistance training is a type of exercise that strengthens muscles using opposing force and is perfect for the workplace because it doesn’t require a lot of space or equipment to be effective.
In fact, many movements you make every day such as pushing, pulling, squatting and twisting require resistance. Chair dips, squats and lunges are three simple exercises that strengthen muscles using only the weight of your body. With all of these resistance exercises, you can easily increase the difficulty by increasing the number of repetitions.
How do you stay active during the workday? Let us know in a comment!
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
Consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.