The number of knowledge workers – or non-routine cognitive employees in the U.S. workforce – is rising at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, workplace health and wellness isn’t keeping pace with the number of people working in front of a computer screen for the majority of their days. It’s estimated that by the year 2030, more than half of all American adults will be obese. Aside of company-wide wellness programs and fitness initiatives, it’s important that employees take their personal wellness while on the job very seriously. Studies have shown that leading a sedentary lifestyle can have serious implications for your expected lifespan, mental wellbeing, and everyday mood, further enforcing the importance of keeping an active, energetic daily routine no matter your professional or area of expertise.
While it can be difficult to implement a truly ergonomic and movement-friendly solution to an existing office or workplace, there are plenty of strategies to keep moving throughout the day and stay motivated to change your lifestyle for the better.
1. Change Up Your Posture
The results are in: sitting kills. Staying in the same position throughout the work day won’t only have an impact on your midsection, but the company’s bottom line may also suffer as a result of your lack of movement. A weak core isn’t the only downside, though – studies have shown that circulation, muscle tension, and organ damage can result due to long-term immobility and poor posture. Experts say that sitting upright with relaxed shoulders, elbows at a 90-degree angle, and feet flat on the floor is the best posture to help avoid aches, pains, and development of more chronic conditions in the future.
2. Be Mobile in Work Mode
Some workplaces encourage in-person meetings and communiques to help boost employee movement throughout the day. Even if you have a small group meeting or a team check-in, try and make the meeting mobile, taking a loop around the office, block or neighborhood to keep everyone active and engaged.
3. Do Errands
If your schedule and your office environment are conducive to it, try squeezing in a few errands around town during the workday or on your lunch break. A quick trip to the bank, post office, or grocery store won’t just get you up and moving, it’ll help you conquer your to-do list and better focus on your professional workflow throughout the day.
Just because it doesn’t involve movement doesn’t mean it’s not helpful to your general wellbeing. Meditation in the workplace is becoming more and more prevalent and for good reason. Studies have shown that those who take 10-15 minutes on a daily basis to sit quietly and process their thoughts perform better at work, miss less time due to illness, and feel more productive. Furthermore, those who meditate are also more averse to pain, less likely to develop heart disease, and have a stronger immune system compared to a control group.
5. Switch to a Standing Desk or Stability Ball
Getting up and walking around aren’t the only things you could be doing to protect your health at work. Many companies have wellness and health programs designed to supplement a greater effort in wellbeing and health, budgeting for workplace upgrades such as standing desks, ergonomic improvements for spine and posture support, and exercise or stability balls to help improve balance and posture throughout the day.
6. Try Calisthenics
A bodyweight strengthening routine performed a few times throughout a standard workday can provide tremendous benefits to your overall health and general physique. Calisthenics, a form of bodyweight exercise, requires no equipment and can be performed virtually anywhere, burning fat and helping to improve posture, flexibility, and functional everyday movements. This is a good introduction to the basics of calisthenics that you can adopt in your daily routine.
7. Set a Goal, Hit a Number
Wearable technology has made keeping track of daily fitness a breeze, if not a complete afterthought. Fitbits are the clear leaders in this field, but Apple, Microsoft, and Nike all have technology-driven fitness wearables and software to track daily dietary intake, number of steps walked, stairs climbed, calories burned, and more.
If you’re concerned about the amount of physical activity you’re getting at work or are otherwise suffering from repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel, contact Rue and Primavera in Whidbey Island to begin correcting imbalances, weaknesses, and body tensions.