Don’t you wish employees were included in office planning? I would choose a desk with hooks for exercise bands. Under my desk, instead of a foot rest I would have a small pedal machine so I could secretly cycle while talking on the phone. You know that belly droop most office workers develop from sitting slouched in front of a computer all day? I would not have that because my desk chair would be an exercise ball with a back rest. In the break room, instead of mail slots full of junk, I would have a yoga mat slot along with individual slots for 1 kg, 3 kg, and 5 kg weights. Instead of a coffee break, I could get in a fast progressive weight training session.
The very best part about 5:00pm
The very best part of my beautiful South African office planning would be leaving it all behind at five o’clock. Work would be done and my fitness workout would be over at the same time. I would not have to carry that burdensome mantle of guilt all night because I did not stop at the gym before coming home. I would feel free! Free to go directly home and spend my evening doing anything or nothing. I could put on my pyjamas, eat popcorn and watch a movie – guilt free!
It’s a fantasy, I know. However, there are ways to get in a work out while you work at your desk. Here are a few tips you can implement depending on the tolerance of your boss:
- Stretch: The first one is a must-do even if you do not do anything else. Get up every hour and stretch every muscle in your body. Then walk to the copy machine, printer or somewhere in the office before returning to your desk.
- Desk push-up: With your hands shoulder width apart on the edge of your desk and legs out behind you, push off and back 10 times.
- Butterfly: Stand in front of your desk and lean forward from the waist. Spread your arms out and back until shoulder blades touch and then back again. Repeat 10 times slowly. Hold a full water bottle in each hand for bonus benefits.
- Squats: With back straight and arms out to side, squat slowly 10 times. Use the water bottles as weights in each hand if you choose.
- Sitting leg lifts: Sit straight in your chair, buttocks touching the back. Now slowly lift both legs until they are perpendicular to your hips. Hold the position for 3 seconds and slowly lower your legs. Repeat 10 times. Use your stomach muscles to assist the lift.
- Hamstring back kicks: This is an exaggerated march in one place. Stand with elbows bent, arms are relaxed at waist height. Slowly bring one foot up to touch your rear while straightening your arms. Repeat with each leg 10 times.
- Walk: Do this if you have five minutes or ten minutes and room to move around. Walk as fast as you can, pumping arms and legs. Do it during lunch or a coffee break walking up and down hallways. If you have the opportunity walk outside. Walk more than once each day if possible. This is a good cardio work out but you have to move fast.
Office planning for physical fitness
Many of us are stuck in an office for long hours each day without exercise. It is easy to add up to 20 kilograms of body weight after just a few years on the job. Those kilograms will sneak up on you a gram at a time without you being consciously aware. Just a few extra calories each day above what you burn is all it takes.
Often there is no time or energy for a work-out before or after work. Performing these few exercises a couple of times a day will at least increase your energy level, flexibility and make you more productive at work and after work. The exercises will also relieve stress and make you healthier by burning some extra calories.
If you have some privacy at work, you might want to add some stomach crunches and push-ups along with resistance training with bands. Arrange your office furniture to make a little space for your mini-workouts. Remember, these mini-workouts are done just a few minutes at a time. They are not meant to steal time that belongs to your employer. They are meant to make your paid work time more productive. Utilise spare minutes each work day for fitness as part of your daily office planning schedule.