It’s cold outside and you’re stuck in the office all day long – making it difficult to kick start your 2020 health and fitness resolutions.
But this doesn’t mean you have to let your fitness suffer. Personal trainer Badrul Islam has teamed up with the team at Feel Good Contacts to bring this great guide for staying healthy in the workplace.
Our working world is designed so that we are sitting for eight hours a day. This is the most passive thing you can do which means that you’re not metabolising sugars and fats.
Research shows that long periods of sitting can have a detrimental impact on our health and wellbeing and cut years off our lives. The World Health Organisation listed inactivity as the fourth biggest risk factor in global adult mortality.
But luckily there are some office exercises and other initiatives you can take to combat fatigue and weight gain. Here are some tips on how to kick start your New Year fitness programme and keep your muscles engaged.
Once you’re back at work after the festive break, find a co-worker with similar New Year health goals so that you can support each other. It is easier to stick with your plan if a buddy is going through the same resolution and helps you to adhere to your schedule and nutritional goals.
Start your day by walking or cycling to work. But if this is an unrealistic option then get off the bus or train a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way. If you have shower facilities at work and want to push yourself even harder, why not get off the train or bus even more than two stops earlier and jog to work or home.
You could increase the stops incrementally as you get fitter. If you don’t have shower facilities at work, at least try to jog part of the way home.
If you’re driving, then park further away. Once you arrive at the office block, get your blood pumping by using the stairs instead of the lift. Follow these suggestions and you’ll arrive at work feeling fresh, energized and with a clear mind.
Bring your own healthy lunch into work. Food preparation is a great way to control your consumption and saves you money as you won’t be buying the quickest, most expensive option when you’re in a rush.
In terms of drinking, water is one of the easiest ways to manage body weight and reduce your food consumption. To ensure that you are consuming a sufficient amount of water, keep 2 bottles of water (1.5- 2 litres) handy.
Turn daily tasks into exercises. Instead of emailing or calling your colleague across the room, walk over to their desk for a face to face conversation. If you’re having a meeting, then suggest a standing meeting. As well as getting you out of your chair, research shows that these types of meetings are a good way of increasing efficiency, making sure that the meeting doesn’t stretch to an hour when it can be done in half the time.
When you’re back at your desk, if it’s possible, stand up and do your work. Standing uses more muscles and burns more calories than sitting and it’s good for your back and posture. If you can’t stand and work, then stand up every 30 minutes to stretch your chest and extend your spine to reverse the hunched position of sitting.
Use a towel or find an office broomstick to use for stretching. Holding the towel or broomstick with straight arms at either end, rotate back and forth over your head slowly. Doing this can help to open up your chest muscles and mobilise your back muscles. Stretching is vital for maintaining good posture, especially when working at a desk for several hours a day. It will also help to reduce back and neck pain significantly. If you’re feeling particularly energetic then why not try some deskercise.
Try and break up multiple chunks of sitting time (set an alarm if you feel you need it) with some movement by taking trips to the water machine. The general rule is to take a walk at least every half an hour to get a glass of water. People get dehydrated when they sit, plus at this time of year the office will be heated so you’ll need the extra H20.
When you’re stuck with some dead time, for example, whilst waiting for the kettle, photocopier or meeting room, don’t be embarrassed to do some light exercises like calf raises, squats or lunges.
If you can manage to brave the cold weather, then go for a walk in your break. Use your longer lunchbreak for a workout.
Go to your local park for a power walk or run. For variety of exercises, look out for the communal gym equipment that has been installed in many parks up and down the country. Failing that, you’ll often find monkey bars in the children’s playground where you can work on your pull ups.
Badrul Islam, personal trainer, concluded: “Your health is more important than any amount of pay. So be mindful of the length of time you’re sitting. Doing so can mean a long and healthy career for years to come.
“In addition, prioritising a healthy sleep pattern over social activity, will increase your energy, speed up recovery and boost your productivity.”