The benefits of exercise in reducing stress and supporting the overall health of your body are well known. If you sit in an office at a desk all day, then you may feel like you are forced to exercise only after hours by walking, running, or participating in a fitness program at a gym. While this is certainly useful, it remains fixed on your desk for hours on end every day. Essentially, you have a sedentary lifestyle interrupted by intense periods of exercise.
If you can add small amounts of exercise to your day throughout the day, the health benefits multiply. Keeping your muscles and heart working harder at various intervals throughout the day helps reduce stress and increases endurance. Some people have developed a set of specific exercise routines that you can do while sitting at your desk. That can work, but engaging in an exercise routine that distracts you from work where you count reps, breathe heavily, and sweat can lead to unwanted attention from your boss and coworkers.
You can make a few small adjustments to your work routine that will keep your body moving and add many minutes of exercise to your daily life. Start with where you park your car at work. Don’t pick the closest place you can find next to the building. Park your car in the far corner so that you have to walk a hundred meters each way. If your office is on a lower level of a skyscraper, take the stairs. At first, going up three flights of stairs can take your breath away, but soon your muscles will get stronger and it will be much easier for you to go.
If your office is on the twelfth floor, go up the first few floors and take the elevator from there. Of course, going down a few more flights of stairs is much easier. As we talk about the staircase, each time you get up to use the bathroom, choose a bathroom two stories above or below yours. Take the stairs to the bathroom and you will be more relaxed when you get there. You will also feel stronger when you return.
If you spend hours on the phone every day, try standing up while talking. You will use more muscle and energy when you stand up than when you are sitting, and your voice will be better projected onto the phone as your diaphragm relaxes. If you can get it to work, replace your chair for as many hours as possible with a large inflatable exercise ball. Sitting on this ball as you work keeps the muscles in your legs, ankles, and abdomen working for balance and forces you to maintain good posture.
If you take lunch or coffee breaks, add a ten-minute walk as part of the break. Better yet, use ten-minute walks as a quick stress relief tool and as a way to talk about an important or urgent topic with another person. There is no need to sit at your desk and feel your stress level rise as the topic is presented, when you can keep stress low while doing some exercise by walking and talking at the same time. Stay calm, be creative, and keep moving for better health and optimal performance, all day long.