It’s only natural to draw distinctions between your professional life and any personal focus which falls on fitness. After all, the two are often at loggerheads; deadlines and responsibilities often mean you don’t have enough time to exercise. Equally, sometimes that early morning run bleeds into your energy levels for a morning meeting.
But what if we told you that the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive? That you can get a decent work out at work way beyond the basic exertion of those eagerly typing fingers. It doesn’t take much, just a reframing of how you move and groove around the office, and you can keep the dangers of an office-based sedentary lifestyle at the door. Yep, this is life at the gym, but not as we know it; our 5 ways to make your job work out for you.
BREAK FOR EXERCISE
It’s a curse of the convenience of our modern world; most jobs likely entail that you remain stationary for a long period of time. That means there is a high chance that you could gain weight or start to suffer from backache or even repetitive strain injuries. Indeed, the implications of such a sedentary approach to your 9 to 5 have been well documented; a recent campaign to Get Britain Standing highlighted an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes amongst other issues.
If you work in a big company, it is very likely that they may already have clubs and sessions going on throughout the day to ensure that their employees remain psychologically happy and healthy. Take advantage of doing this during work hours; insist that such classes are a benefit to the company, and should happen ‘on the clock’, rather than during your well earned lunch break. You could suggest to seniors that the formation of a yoga or meditation club will help colleagues relax both your body and your mind, too. Every little helps!
THE DAILY COMMUTE
We’ve spent many an hour on the tube, resenting those wasted hours which could be spend getting fit and healthy. We’re sure you’re the same?
But recent changes in attitude to offices and commutes have presented new angles for improving the efficiency of your journey to work. Make the most of this by using it to get fit.
Indeed, your daily commute can be the perfect time for you to get some exercise, and the UK government has recently been encouraging people to either take a bike or just walk to work.
For commuters who are lucky enough to be within walking, running or cycling distance of their office, make the most of this blessing to do just that; walk, run or cycle to work. If you don’t want to take this option every day, even just a return journey a few times a week which raises the heart rate could help boost your fitness levels and keep those threats from a sedentary lifestyle at bay. And if you aren’t close enough for this to be feasible, try getting off a couple of stops earlier than normal and walking the remaining distance to work.
There is also the cycle scheme in place currently to encourage people to be leaner and greener in the way they travel to and from the office. With cities placing an increased focus on becoming cycle friendly, now is the perfect time to start.
DISCOUNT SCHEMES & CONTRACTUAL PERKS
A healthy workforce is a productive one. Many responsible employers now recognise this, and are adding gym and sports club memberships into their contracts, along with other perks which encourage and incentivise employees to keep fit. It’s a win-win situation here; staff are helped out with financing their fitness, and the company benefits from less sick days, and a more focused, positive team.
According to the employee discount scheme experts LifeWorks, ‘’around 60% of job seekers say perks are a major incentive when looking for a job and 80% prefer additional benefits over a pay increase’’. Click here to find out more.
TEAMWORK AND BONDING EXERCISES
There’s nothing quite like bonding with your work colleagues over team sports, hiking, an outward bounds trip or another type of active day out. If this becomes a monthly or even weekly thing, then the health benefits really start to kick in. Not to mention the positive impact it can have on workplace harmony, of course.
If you’re an expert pitcher, then why not propose HR fund these excursions, in the name of teambuilding? Or, you could subtly encourage the office busybody (we all have one) to take on the organising work? Should you be short on inspiration, check out our tips on the 5 IDEAL activities for corporate events and teambuilding.
CALLISTHENICS & COLLEAGUES
The average workstation probably doesn’t lend itself well to users doing the occasional push-up or star jump, which is why your office should make it easy for your workers to get their physical exercise elsewhere. After all, exercise boosts blood flow, energy and alertness, and has been proven time and time again to lower stress levels.
Therefore, ask HR to rethink the office layout and provisions to encourage activity in staff; provide stairs which your staff can use instead of a lift, add some storage space for bicycles they could use for commuting, and even consider adding shower facilities for those who like to run to work or work out in their lunch break.
Many exercises make use of callisthenics (using your own body weight and very little equipment to build muscle) and there are a variety of simple routines which will show you how to stay fit at your office desk. For example, find a sturdy, secure chair and do some dips. Or, position yourself on a swivel chair and spin, using only your core to propel you. The result? Well, if you do enough, some toned, defined abs.