The average American between the ages of 25 and 54 spends 40.3 hours per week at work. That adds up to over 160 hours a month, and close to 3,000 hours each year! With work taking up the majority of our time, it’s no surprise that many adults find it difficult to incorporate regular physical activity into their schedules. Don’t let your job keep you from staying active – here are six tips to help you shape up while at work.
Take short, frequent breaks.
It’s easy to get caught up in a project or lose track of time and forget to take a break. If the nature of your job allows, try to get up and move at least once every hour. Fill your water bottle, walk a lap through the office, or just stand up and stretch your legs. If your job does not allow for frequent breaks, make the most of your scheduled break – try to get in a quick walk outside or even around the office. You can always take a few moments to stretch out your arms, back, or legs without having to take much time away from your work.
Stand when you can.
If you have a job that keeps you at a desk for most of the day, take any opportunity you can to get up from sitting. Instead of emailing or calling your colleague, take a walk over to their office. Suggest scheduling a walking meeting when possible instead of sitting around a table. If you can, walk to pick up your lunch instead of hopping in the car. If you’re handling tasks like phone calls or proofreading, simply stand up at your desk to give your body a break from sitting.
Take the stairs.
Choosing the stairs over the elevator every day is an easy way to strengthen your muscles and burn some extra calories. If taking the stairs is a challenge for you, start slow and take your time – you’ll see your fitness levels improve over time if you stick to it. Try to start your day a little earlier if necessary so you don’t find yourself rushing and taking the elevator to make it into the office on time.
Get creative with your commute.
Of course, an easy way to incorporate activity into your day is to change up your commute to work. Walking, running, or biking to work is a great option depending on your commute. If commuting to work any other way than by car is not an option for you, you can still incorporate some activity into your morning and evening routine! Park a few blocks away from work, or even just at the far end of the parking lot to get in a few extra steps. If you use public transportation, get off one or two stops before your actual stop and walk the rest of the way.
Encourage workplace wellness.
Many companies have workplace wellness programs in place to encourage healthy habits in their employees. Find out if your company has a program in place and get involved! The accountability and incentives will give you more motivation to focus on your health. If your company does not have any sort of wellness program in place, suggest one! Competition can be a good method to help folks get and stay active.
Make healthy food choices.
When our schedules are busy, it’s easy to choose whatever is fast or convenient to eat for a snack or lunch. Try to bring your lunch from home as often as possible, and include healthy, fresh ingredients. If you do eat out, try to make healthier choices, even if it means skipping the fast food joint next door. Remember to drink water regularly throughout the day.
The Center is committed to helping Central Oregon employers maintain healthy and safe work environments. Click here to learn more about our Occupational Medicine services.