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Dave Carter
Dave Carter
  • 4 Minute Read
  • 31st August 2018

How to Stay Fit Without Leaving Your Desk

With many of us spending most of our working day seated in the office, for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, it’s all too easy to miss out on the physical exercise that is vital for our general health and well-being, as working hard is often at odds with working out. Physical exercise is, however, a necessity to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.

There has been huge strides and positivity surrounding the importance of mental health in recent years. With more and more people acknowledging mental health and how to keep a focus on our wellbeing, exercise has gained traction for the benefits it provides to not only our physical state but also our mental health.

However, it is important to understand that regular physical exercise is important in its own right. Exercising releases endorphins and serotonin that not only makes us feel good, but also improve our muscle strength and boost endurance. Regular exercise delivers oxygen and essential nutrients to our tissues and helps our cardiovascular system work more efficiently, and when we have a healthy heart and lungs, we have more energy to tackle life’s everyday adventures.

Incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine will ensure neither physical nor mental health are neglected. In this article, we will focus on how to get physical activity into your working day.

1. Get a standing desk or bike stool

Many offices have noticed that spending 8 hours sitting at a desk is going to do more harm than good to our physical well-being. Therefore, some companies now have standing desks scattered around the office space to allow you to do your work standing whenever you feel you need that all important stretch and movement. By taking intervals to stand for about 10 minutes every hour, you will increase circulation around the body and retain much more motivation throughout the day

If your company allows it, you can also opt for a bike stool. These great pieces of equipment are part standing desk, part exercise bike and help your body stay productive even while sedentary. Either desk options are great ideas and you will surely notice a change to your activity levels and mood throughout the day.

2. Calf raises

Staying sedentary all day at work is a habit most of us need to break. However, small bursts of physical activity such as calf raises can really boost your energy expenditure throughout the day.

To do a calf raise, you must stand up tall and rise up onto your toes, hold for a moment, and then lower your heels back to the floor. If you struggle with balance, you can do this exercise while holding onto your chair or desk for support. Repeat the calf raise 10 times for 5-7 sets if you can. This exercise will help work your calves and strengthen the lower leg muscles.

3. Have a step goal

You don’t need to be reaching 10k steps a day but just aiming for around 5,000 - 8,000 is going to have a huge effect on your cardiovascular health. Every hour or so, stand up from your desk and walk or march on the spot for a few minutes. Doing this regularly is going to increase the number of steps you’re taking throughout the day and keep your body moving. Having a step goal, no matter how small, to work towards is really going to motivate you to hit your target. Most smartwatches and smartphones will monitor a step average that you can keep track of, and if you have neither, still aim to walk around every hour to keep yourself motivated and focused.

4. Star jumps

This one will take you back to your childhood which is great as it’s so fun it will barely feel like you’re exercising.

To perform, stand with your arms by your sides and feet shoulder-width apart. Jump and land with your feet wider and hands clapped over your head. Jump again and return to your starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 times for 5 - 7 sets. This exercise will work your full body and activate muscle groups such as your hamstrings, hip flexors, and core. It will also target your glutes and quadriceps.

5. Wall sit

If you work in any building, you’re likely surrounded by many walls, and so a wall sit is a great and convenient exercise to perform.

To do this, stand with your back against a wall, slide down until your hips and knees are bent at around 90 degrees and hold the position for at least 30 seconds. After a while, you’ll notice your quads, core, glutes and hamstrings working to hold you up. This is a great exercise that works your entire lower body and if performed regularly, you’ll notice yourself being able to perform the wall sit longer than the time before.

6. Stretch it out

In between all your exercises, you will be sitting and may find yourself seizing up. A great desk exercise that can relieve tension and help your posture is to reach as far as possible with both hands to the ankles while seated, then both hands reach as far overhead as possible. Follow with a big stretch up with the arms, lifting to use ribs, working the abs, using shoulders, arms and lungs. Both feet remain firmly flat on the floor throughout.

Shoulder shrugs up to the ears are also great for releasing tension if you’ve had to sit at a screen for a long period of time. Arms should be long and down by the side of your chair throughout.

Incorporating gentle stretching alongside regular movement is going to help keep your muscles active and improve your overall fitness.

Staying fit and healthy is a high priority within flexible offices

Flexible office providers have long recognised the importance of wellbeing in the workplace. Having the right mix of desirable spaces that can support the daily tasks of a working day is central to flexible office designs. Contemporary flexible workspaces focus on what workers need; generous amenities, alternative spaces to support focused work, areas rich in natural light, and external spaces.

Many provide fitness facilities, on-site gyms, and wellness classes for their residents. Others may offer free cycles for hire and quiet spaces too where workers can relax and have a moment to escape the stress of a working day. Some providers also offer free access to medical professionals that are trained to assist with physical and or mental health needs.

Need help finding a new office?

If you’re looking for a great office that provides a healthy and happy workspace, give the Office Freedom team a call today on 0203 603 2567, or email us at [email protected] to find your next fantastic office environment.