Top tips on keeping fit in the workspace
Next week you’ll get fit because your deadline will have passed. Next week you’ll get fit because you need to lose a few kilos for summer. Next week you’ll get fit because that doughnut shop on the way to the office won’t distract you anymore…
And on it goes – but next week never comes, right?
You’re always too busy or too tired. You keep meaning to get a bike (or mend that puncture) and cycle everywhere. You keep meaning to join the gym but you never quite have the money.
And then the motivation finally hits; you join the gym, go three times a week, workout like you mean it, and then the motivation wanes and the gym visits stop, leaving you with a wardrobe that looks like a clothes rack at the sports store *and* a monthly dent in your wallet.
It’s time to stop. Stop beating yourself up, and stop dreaming that next week will be the optimum time to get fit. (And put that doughnut out while you’re reading this…)
There is a way. A path of least resistance, and a few simple things you can do to get on the road to fitness. We recently posted a blog on some deskercises you can do to get that blood flowing. But now, we want to dig a little deeper on some more ways you can increase your fitness in the office!
Can you stand it?
Possibly the simplest thing you can do to gain a health boost is to move around – yes, it is that simple! Science shows that if you sit at a desk for two hours or more a day, you’re more likely to suffer from a chronic illness, no matter how much exercise you do away from the desk.
So, take a stroll every once in a while. Every few hours maybe. You’ll thank yourself for a change of scenery, and with people like Pomodoro recommending regular breaks to maximise work effectiveness, you might find that factoring a lot more breaks than you’re used to actually reaps productivity benefits.
The jury is out on standing desks, but we like them. Our coworking spaces have plenty of places you can stand and work giving you more options to move around throughout the day.
Get a little kit to get a little fit
Ok, this tip might be a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s cheaper than a gym membership and leaves you with no excuses based on time or travel. Invest in your own mini-gym – portable enough to carry to the coworking space, or create once your there.
Grab some portable exercise equipment, like dumbbells and a yoga mat (so you don’t sweat on the office floor) and you’re good to go. And again, if you’re on a low or no-budget regime, fill a couple of 1.5-litre water bottles with..er…water, and they make perfect dumbbells.
You could go wild with a gym stick, exercise bands and rollers, but the key here is to start off with things you know you’ll use and use regularly. Also, make sure you don’t overload your workstation with gym equipment – simple is key!
In short, keeping simple, cheap exercise equipment at your chosen workstation increases your chances of getting a quick workout in here and there enormously.
Whatever makes you Appy
Turn to the App Store for a host of fitness help – with more than 250 health and fitness-related apps currently available – you’ll be spoilt for choice – but which ones might be relevant for the office?
Some of the best are simple reminder apps, like Eyeleo. This laptop programme lets you rest your eyes and forces you to exercise or stretch by disabling your computer screen for a while – with exercises performed by an animated leopard. Sure, why not? There’s also workrave, which sounds more fun than it is – it’s similar to Eyeleo, but the eye-rolling leopard is replaced by a sheep and a woman who doesn’t seem to have a mouth. Still, it’s encouraging to be encouraged to take a break – a great reminder that we all spend way too much time in front of a screen.
Yoga Studio is a great app featuring build-your-own yoga classes, instructors including Rodney Yee, and HD videos. There are a number of poses you can do at your desk, including the fantastic nose breathing exercises your coworkers are sure to adore. Classes can be as short as two minutes, so perfect for a quick office break. You can also check out our yoga classes in-branch for a full stretch session.
Hop, skip and jump
Walking all the way to your workspace might be insane (depending on how far away you live)! And how about getting a bike and cycling to work? Or simply get off one tube or bus stop earlier, maybe? Park your car a bit further away? There are micro-changes you can make to your daily routine which undoubtedly bring massive long-term benefits.
If you can’t increase your walk as part of your commute, maybe try a lunchtime stroll?
Apart from the obvious physical benefits, a daily walk can play a significant role in your emotional well-being too – walking outdoors puts your mind in a zen-like state, stimulates creative thinking, and studies have even proved that after (aerobic) exercise your brain’s cognitive function and memory recall is at its best.