How to Stay Active at Work for Heath & Productivity

Getting your body moving throughout the day is sometimes easier said than done if you have a 9-5 desk job. However, the human body wasn’t designed to be sedentary, and research shows that prolonged sitting leads to a wide range of health problems.

Benefits of Moving throughout the Day

Many healthcare costs are associated with preventable conditions, and frequent activity can help prevent serious chronic conditions. By incorporating more movement into daily routine, you can reduce your risk of heart failure, obesity, and even depression.

These are some of the top benefits of getting your body moving while at work.

  • Decreased risk of injury
  • Increased mental focus
  • Reduce stress and frustration

How to Stay Active at Work

Regardless of what industry you’re in or how many hours per day your tasks require you to be sedentary, there are many ways to stay active throughout the work day. These are some easy ways to get up and moving.

  • Simply take a walk around the office every couple hours
  • Get up and stretch at your desk
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park your car in the farthest spot from the door
  • If your office has a gym, work out over your lunch hour
  • Get up an hour earlier to exercise before work
  • Try using a standing workstation
  • Sit on a yoga ball at your desk instead of a traditional chair

Using a fitness tracker device, such as a Fitbit, can remind you to move and stay active all day. To reduce muscle tension caused by prolonged sitting and work-related stress, also consider seeking professional treatment for massage therapy or even water jet massage therapy.

Stretching and Productivity

Not only can stretching make you feel healthier and more energized throughout the day, but is has also been linked to increases in productivity. This applies not only to computer workers, but also people who work in factories, manufacturing plants, construction zones, and other workplace environments.

One particular study conducted on computer workers reported that 63 percent of participants felt that a stretching program helped increase their productivity at work. Research shows that short breaks keep the brain focused so you don’t become complacent and sluggish for the tasks at hand.

Stretches for the Workplace

Although you might feel a bit awkward at first, stretching at work is something you can easily do at your desk, in the break room, or on your way into the office. Here are some workplace stretches to try this week.

  • Seated backbend – Raise your arms while seated, exhale, and bend back slightly to expand your chest and upper back.
  • Seated twist – Sit tall in your chair and inhale as you twist to one side from the bottom of your spine, and use your arm rest for support.
  • Wrist bend – While standing, extend one arm out and use your other hand to gently apply pressure to your downward-facing hand.
  • Forward fold – Stand up and bend over to touch your toes or grab opposite elbows with both hands.

Try to hold each one of these stretches for 15-20 seconds maintain a healthy back, wrists, arms, and legs. You can find more great ideas for workplace stretches at the University of Toronto’s workplace exercises page and the Mayo Clinic’s slideshow of office stretches.