LifeSynch, a Humana subsidiary, offers extensive health behavior resources, including behavioral healthcare, employee assistance program (EAP)/work-life services, behavioral pharmacy services, health coaches and Web-based wellness tools. As part of their commitment to change health behaviors and improve lives, LifeSynch’s health coaches will be contributing a series of articles that demonstrate how easy it can be to make a healthy change.
Finding the time to get in a solid workout can be a tenuous task for many of us. What if we gave ourselves a new challenge to increase our brain activity, burn calories, increase happiness, and maximize production, all for low to no cost? By taking on this challenge, we could decrease sedentary tendencies and increase our well-being. Studies show that staying active throughout the day is not only great for our health, it is great for our productivity as well. Whether you work at home or commute to the office, there are plenty of options to keep you moving. Consider these 10 concepts and supportive references to make the most of your time at the office.
1. Stay active even while sitting
Your chair is an excellent platform for building strength and flexibility. A steady four-legged chair is all you need to help boost your metabolism. Some examples of chair exercises and other resources are offered by LiveStrong.com. It’s a bonus if you have hand weights or a resistance band to use.
2. Get out of your chair
Talk to your co-workers face-to-face instead of making a phone call. Walk from one side of the office to the other to deliver a note. If you have a home office, change a load of laundry in between meetings. Shovel your driveway or water your plants during your lunch break. This will increase your daily steps and give you a “brain break” from your work.
3. Forget the elevator
Pretend the elevator doesn’t exist. You will be doing your heart and legs some good by using the stairs to increase your heart rate several times a day.
4. Office support
Form a team with your colleagues. Keep each other accountable by walking together on breaks, tracking team activity, or create new challenges with inspiration from programs like HumanaVitality that may be offered to you through your employer or health insurer. Even co-workers who are physically separated can support each other’s efforts and form a team through office challenges that incorporate great apps and online tools like Humanafit.
5. Stand up
Consider creating or purchasing a standing workstation. Make a point to alternate standing and sitting throughout the day. Get up once an hour to move around and stretch, dance, or even do some standing exercises such as lunges or squats. Some studies suggest that sitting too much can lead to cardiovascular disease and cancer.
6. Keep comfortable shoes at your desk
Keeping comfortable walking/running shoes at your desk may offer encouragement to walk with comfort around the perimeter of the office, a route outside, a quick trip to the office gym or even walking in place. Sometimes all it takes is having your workout clothes or shoes at an arm’s reach to prompt you to get up and get moving.
7. Fuel for your brain
Movement and exercise increase breathing and heart rate so that more blood flows to the brain, enhancing energy production and toxin removal. Note your energy level and thought clarity when you return to work after those exercise-induced endorphins are released.
8. Circuit work
Create a low-cost gym in the office. Take turns rotating equipment around cubicles or office with a small group or on your own. Some exercises that lend themselves well to this might include a balance ball, free weights, resistance band, and chair exercises. Get up and trade equipment with your partner(s) throughout the day. This will prompt those in your group to stay active and keep the boredom at bay.
9. Walk and talk
The afternoon is a time when your body is generally digesting lunch, and the afternoon slump sets in. If you have a meeting, grab your colleague or your phone and hit the pavement, treadmill, or bike while getting some work done.
10. Workplace Wellness
Make sure you know all that is offered through your employer. You might be able to take advantage of health coaches, preventive care screenings, office challenges and office gyms.
Play with one or some of these ideas throughout your workday. See what fits you best and squeeze some activity time into your calendar. Let’s take care of ourselves and our colleagues by integrating health and wellness into our work life. Small changes lead to big results.
Katie Rowe, a learning facilitator and personal health coach/mentor at LifeSynch, a subsidiary of Humana, has an associates degree in healthcare business services and a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management. She is an active volunteer in her community, focusing on public health initiatives. In her spare time, she enjoys exercising, vegan blogging, traveling, cooking, and any outdoor activity.