Posted on 31 July, 2017

Exercises an Office Worker Can do During the Work Day

By Jacob Andreae in Career, Fitness, Health, How-to, Time Management, Lifestyle, Exercise Exercises an Office Worker Can do During the Work Day

[Image source: The Happiness Index]

Sitting is becoming a huge concern for our species’ health. As technologies advance and manufacturers look for new ways to make our lives easier in order to increase sales, we are sitting more than ever before. However, some inspiring managers in the workplace are searching for ways to get their staff up out of their seats in order to be more productive and generate a fun and vibrant workplace.

Energetic and vibrant workplaces are some of the best places to work. When you incorporate movement into your day... you increase the energy within the office and everyone feels it.

I was recently asked to write this article by a friend of mine who is a bank manager. She's led by example by engaging in the behaviour that she’d like to see in her staff. She tells me she walks laps of the office at least every hour and dances in the kitchen. Knowing her, I can believe it and I can imagine just how funny it would be. She’d be trying to get her staff to join in and, although they’re hesitant now, it won’t be long until that first person joins in and then everyone is doing it.

Creating a vibrant and enthusiastic environment is essential to enhancing productivity. Work is just one aspect of each persons’ life. In my opinion, if you want to get the most out of people at work, as a manager you need to consider the other aspects. Health is one of those aspects. And a very important one. Taking the time to help improve the health of your staff, while having fun together, is essential to enhancing productivity and building a culture that attracts high quality staff and retains those staff.

Exercises an Office Worker Can do During the Work Day

  1. Stand
    Start your new routines by simply getting up out of your chair and standing more often.

    Protocol: Stand for one minute every hour.

    Jacob’s tip: Set an alarm to go off every hour and when it does, stand up. As this new routine becomes more of a habit, say after a week, start to add to it. The following exercises are examples of how you can add to it.
  2. Marching
    This is good even if you’re sitting. So whether you’re sitting in a meeting or standing in your office, march.

    Protocol: Do 30s of marching (either in your seat or walking around the office) every hour. If you’re doing high knees running, do 10s two to three times a day.

    Jacob’s tip: If you’re doing high knees running, your colleagues are going to think you’re crazy. Tell them what you’re doing and encourage them to join in. Check out this video about having the guts to be a leader.
  3. Walk
    This is simple. Just walk around the office. Get up and move around. Go speak to Jenny, go chat to Johnny, go look out the window.

    Protocol: Do one walk every hour.

    Jacob’s tip: Walk a little bit further each time (within reason). When it’s time for lunch, use this time to walk some more. Search for good places to eat within walking distance that are beyond the block where your office building is located. If you bring your lunch from home, find a nice park you can walk to. If you have to drive to get lunch, choose a location where you can go for a nice stroll afterwards such as a park or foreshore
  4. Take the stairs
    If you have stairs in your workplace, choose them over the lift. Any time you need a break, go for a walk outside by taking the stairs both ways.

    Protocol: Do at least one walk up and one walk down the stairs every day. That’s when you arrive and when you leave.

    Jacob’s tip: As you get used to it, build up to walking down and back up the stairs every hour.
  5. Dance
    Again, you’re colleagues are going to think you’re crazy unless you tell them what you’re doing. Get them to join you. You’ll look like that guy in the video in the beginning but stick with it and it will become a movement. Get it ;-) “a movement”. (If you don’t know what I’m on about, go back and watch that video, it’s awesome!)

    Protocol: Dance for the entirety of one song every day.

    Jacob’s tip: Start at home in the evening. Put on some music and get your family or housemates involved. Dance for one song. You might be surprised just how demanding dancing is physically. Or maybe that’s just my dancing :-0 When you start at work, tell your workmates what you’re doing and ask them to join you. Just make sure it doesn’t disturb others who choose to not participate.
  6. Arm circles
    When you’re on your next conference call, or your just reading the minutes of your last meeting on your computer, extend your arms and do small arm circles forwards and backwards.

    Protocol: Do one set of 15s forwards and 15s backwards, three times a day.

    Jacob’s tip: Your shoulders may start to creep up towards your ears. Think about pulling your shoulder blades down into your back pockets.
  7. Calf pulses
    Just like the seat pocket card says on most aeroplanes, calf pulses are a great exercise for generating blood flow through your lower legs and feet. Plus, you can do this while remaining seated. Of course, getting up and moving is better but this is a good one to do while you continue working.

    Protocol: Do 10 pulses every hour.

    Jacob’s tip: Lift up onto your toes and squeeze your calf muscles. Roll back down to your heels and pull your toes towards your shins. You can do this seated but it’s better if you stand. You can even roll your feet around in a circular motion (both directions) to increase blood flow in your lower legs.
  8. Stretch
    When you’re sitting at your desk, your body, including your fascia, which is the glad wrap like material that envelops your entire muscular system, becomes sort of set in that position. It’s important to stretch out your muscles when they are held in stationary positions for long periods of time, especially the muscles that are in shortened positions. The important muscle groups to stretch include your lower back, glutes (butt), hamstrings and hips.

    Protocol: Hold each of these four stretches for 30 seconds, once or twice a day.

    Jacob’s tip: Make stretching a part of your morning and nightly routine. Consider yourself warming up and cooling down for your day like a sportsperson would for a game or competition.
  9. Weights
    Look around your office for objects to use as a weight. Consider objects like your 1L Tupperware water bottle or a textbook. It doesn’t have to be weighted though. Bodyweight exercises are just as good, if not better. Think push ups, squats, lunges and even planking.

    Protocol: Do 10 squats, at least three times a day.

    Jacob’s tip: Hire me as your corporate movement consultant ;-) But in the meantime, do three squats every time you stand up.
  10. Huddle
    Alright, this one’s a real American thing. Because I’m Australian I understand if you don’t like it but it’s great for building morale PLUS movement and energy. Get your team amped for the day ahead by having a daily mini morning meeting. Create a chant that involves the values and vision of your team and finish your meeting with a gridiron type huddle. This is unbelievably powerful and fun.

    If you want help creating the foundations of this, from leading great teams to implementing more movement and energy into your team, send me an email to [email protected]

Energetic and vibrant workplaces are some of the best places to work. When you incorporate movement into your day, particularly when it’s in a fun and collaborative way, you increase the energy within the office and everyone feels it. This leads to greater efficiency and higher levels of productivity. Plus, as a bonus, people actually love turning up and working together.

Which one of these exercises will you implement today?

Another great tip to staying active at work is to purchase a stand-up desk.  Although this option may not be for everyone, it does come with benefits for most office workers, such as better posture and less chance of obesity.  However, with so many standing desks on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right one for you.  I have found a great site to help you decide on which stand-up desk is best suited to your needs.  Happy standing!

About Jacob Andreae

About Jacob Andreae

I write and speak about Fitness, Nutrition and Mindset. 

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Exercises an Office Worker Can do During the Work DayA quick start guide to losing weight and staying on track. Learn the strategies I use to eat and move for optimal health. Includes worksheets to enhance your motivation, commitment and discipline, along with a sample eating plan and exercise program.