So you’ve ended up in a job where you’re basically sat in your ass for 8 hours a day? Welcome to the world. More and more our jobs are computer based and sedentary and we can go an entire day without getting out of our chairs. With a combination of bad posture and lack of activity we can end up with general problems such as weight gain and lack of cardio vascular fitness, as well as back problems and other more specific issues.
Recent studies seem to show that this kind of working situation is basically a recipe for disaster. Combined with further unhealthy pastimes such as drinking, smoking and eating the wrong foods you’re basically on a one way journey to an early grave. It’s hard to believe that this is true, but the human body just wasn’t designed to sit around all day.
So what can we do about it?
Well, busy and stressful office jobs often leave us feeling tired and drained after a long day. Simply saying ‘go to the gym after work every day!’ isn’t always going to be very helpful. Mustering up the energy to go to the gym can be hard, and even if you’re a member it can often be very tempting to sack it off and go straight home and sit on the sofa for the evening.
The trick is to get your exercise WHILE YOU’RE AT WORK! Yes – that’s right! How do we do this, I hear you ask? Well, if you’re clever there are things that you can do in the office during the day that will go a long way towards alleviating the bad effects of a sedentary office job.
1. Get Out of Your Chair
Sounds obvious, but this is the big one! If you have cordless phones, walk about while you talk. If there’s a sandwich run, offer to do it. If you have a copier room, take other people’s copying for them. Don’t take the lift – use the stairs. In your break times, go for a walk. If it’s possible to walk or cycle to work, do that.
2. Get Your Sitting Posture Right
You’re probably sick of people saying this, but SIT UP STRAIGHT! Place your feet flat on the floor and sit with your back straight. This simple task can alleviate a lot of bothersome backaches all by itself. Try to keep this up too – it’s easy to forget and go back into a slouch.
3. Sneaky Pushups
No-one’s expecting you to get down and give us fifty. If you get caught you’ll probably get a disciplinary and while getting fired may be viewed as a good thing, some of you have bills to pay I’m sure. What I’m talking about are pushups that you do while leaning at an angle against a work surface, low wall or railing or some description. In the coffee room? Do some against the kitchen top. Have to take the lift? Do them against the wall when you’re by yourself. Use your imagination – you’ll find places where you can do a few every now and again. Before you know it, it’ll have added up to a good workout. Pushups work chest, shoulders and triceps as well as strengthening your core muscles. Bonus!
A lunge is basically a walk using long strides where you get as low as you can between each step. Your trailing knee will nearly touch the floor and your leading thigh will almost be at right-angles to the ground at your lowest point. You’ll basically look like John Cleese in Ministry of Funny Walks. Do these as you move around the office, whenever you think you can do them without being seen by anyone that matters… These work all of the leg muscles quite comprehensively as well as further strengthening core muscles.
The Net Effect
You’ll find that you ache like hell for the first week, but after that things will start to improve. If you’ve got any niggling aches and pains they should also start to subside. You’ll probably have more energy and be able to concentrate better on your work when you need to, as well as sleeping better at night. Now, don’t get me wrong – you’re not going to be fit enough to start selling online fitness courses like companies such as CMS do – you’re not going to be THAT fit just yet. Without real cardio exercise there’s only so much that you can do, but it’s a start. And a fantastic one at that.