Work out at work

Desk exercisesMore of us than ever spend our work days sitting at a desk, where we exert ourselves by typing, clicking and maybe stapling. Not surprisingly, the lack of physical activity in our daily jobs contributes to a host of unwelcome problems and discomforts. Jan Wesselmann, employee health manager at The University of Kansas Hospital, suggests some easy, quick ways to feel better during your work day.

“Our sedentary workdays can result in muscle stiffness, joint pain, eye strain, repetitive use injuries and obesity,” said Wesselmann.

  • Take a lap.
    Once or twice a day, get up and walk a few laps around your office. No need to work up a sweat “power walking” – even a stroll will help. It’s even better if you can get outside and breathe some fresh air. You’ll get your circulation moving, loosen up your joints and muscles, and change your visual and mental focus.   You’ll burn a few calories and go back to work with more energy than if you had eaten a chocolate bar.

  • Get your marching orders.
    Simply stand, look at the clock and march in place for 60 seconds. If you’re an overachiever, you might make a “raise the roof” movement – raise your arms with your palms up and your thumbs almost touching your shoulders, then push toward the ceiling."

  • Mix it up.
    Arrange your workday so you move around regularly. Make some copies, grab supplies or get a drink of water. Just don’t stay seated in the same position for long periods of time.

  • Take the stairs.
    Ditch the elevator and use the stairs. Just pretend you have your own personal stair-climbing machine.

  • Use a pedometer.
    Once you realize how few steps you take during the day, you’ll be motivated to take a few more. And step by step, that movement adds up. Experts recommend that we walk roughly 10,000 steps a day. But even an increase of 2,000 steps can help. 

The bottom line? A little something is always better than a lot of nothing.

The health library at The University of Kansas Hospital has even more ideas for exercising at work.