By Sophie Toulouse Marcotte, Kinesiologist, athletic therapy student, head trainer at the Sorel Tracy Énergie Cardio Centre.
Did you know that small changes really add up when you’re trying to achieve a healthy lifestyle? Being active requires 10,000 steps daily. The benefits of moving more at work offer you increased productivity and concentration, and an enhanced work environment, as exercise helps release the happiness hormone (serotonin). Physical activity also strengthens your immune system and actually reduces absenteeism. In this article, I will suggest a few simple tricks to help you stay active between coffees at the office and to help you get in better shape.
- Stand as often as possible
- Get a step counter. It will give you a better idea of how many steps you need to reach your daily goal. You can even organize competitions among colleagues or set team goals.
- Stand while talking on the phone.
- Why email a colleague? Get up and go see them at their desk. Every little step counts!
- Go for a walk at lunchtime or during breaks. Invite colleagues to tag along. Getting out as a group will increase your motivation.
- Park your car as far from the office as possible to increase your daily steps.
- Take the stairs instead of an elevator (nothing new there!). During breaks, you can even use them to boost your cardiovascular system and burn extra calories.
- Set up your work area
- Choose a desk that allows you to work standing up.
- Use a Swiss ball instead of a chair. This will allow you to work on your core muscles and improve your posture throughout the day.
- Buy elastics, which are inexpensive, to do exercises during your breaks.
- Practice stretching to relax the muscles that tend to become strained when working at a computer, such as pectorals, trapezius muscles, and the muscles at the back of the neck. Maintain each stretch for 30 seconds. This simple routine can prevent a number of posture problems.
- Take your time
- Don’t bog down your schedule. That way, you will have more time to be active and you won’t be tempted to use your packed schedule as an excuse to stay at your computer.
- Plan a time to get moving. This should be as high on your priority list as any appointment: after all, it’s for your well-being.
- Organize sports activities with colleagues. For example, a running group, a softball or hockey team, etc. Who says being active needs to be boring?
I hope these ideas have inspired you!