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Burn While You Earn: Working Out at Work

Man doing exercise at work

It’s time to get ready for beach season, but what if you’re simply too worn out at the end of the day to hit the gym? Of course, staying in shape isn’t just about looking good for a few months every year. In fact, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommends that adults ages 18 to 64 get a total of 150 minutes worth of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise every week in 10-minute bouts, and to work out bones and muscles at least twice a week. That would be easy if you could exercise at work, but how are you supposed to do that?

The truth is, exercising at work may seem like a stretch (pun intended), but it is possible to fit in some easy-to-do activities that, over time, could have an immense impact on your health, quality of life, and how you perform in your job. In fact, that’s why it’s also important that, as an employer, you go a step further and promote fitness at work.

Top 5 ways to exercise at work

To help get you on the right track, we’re providing you with our top 5 exercises to do around the office along with some advice on how you can get your employees working out at work, thereby enhancing their health, increasing their happiness, strengthening their focus, bolstering their productivity, and boosting your bottom line.

  1. Stairway to seven
    Okay, you don’t have to climb the stairs all the way to floor seven. If you’re on the third floor, climb to the third; if you’re on the tenth, climb to the tenth. The point is: use the stairs. After a while, it’ll get easier and you’ll wonder why you waited around all that time in the lobby with all those other lazy people. Stair climbing is an excellent cardio workout and great for toning the lower body.
  2. Gluteal grip
    Perhaps the most famous and one of the more discreet so-called “deskercises”, this one, as you would imagine, involves clenching your posterior muscles and holding them that way for as long as you can. Then release and repeat. Sounds funny, but the results aren’t just aesthetic. Stronger glutes can improve your posture and, since they’re the largest muscle group in the body – and since stronger muscles require more calories – the greater your glutes, the more calories you’ll burn.
  3. Seated ab squeeze
    Another discreet deskercise, this one can help sculpt those washboard abs you’ve always wanted. While sitting, place your arms on your thighs and curl your abs forward while resisting with your arms. It’s crunch time!
  4. Copier calf raise
    Makin’ copies? Slow printer? Turn downtime into workout time with easy-to-do calf raises. Simply lift your heels and stand on the balls of your feet. Then slowly lower and repeat. Remember to use the machine in front of you for balance.
  5. Mealtime march
    Surely you don’t spend your entire lunch break eating? Use that extra time to go for a vigorous stroll, especially when the weather’s nice. Walking has immense benefits, including staving off type 2 diabetes, preventing heart disease, strengthening bones, and more. Since healthy adults are supposed to get at least two and a half hours of aerobic activity each week, walking 40 to 45 minutes, five days a week can really add up.

Promoting fitness at work

Fitness and productivity go hand-in-hand, and there are several ways employers can encourage their employees to exercise at work and on their own time. If you’re with a large enough company, it’s worth having an onsite gym, for one thing. However, if that’s just not in the cards, consider offering fitness-related benefits, such as covering a percentage of the cost of fitness equipment that employees purchase for use in their own homes. You can also display and give out collateral on health and fitness tips, look into group rates for nearby gyms, and even organize events like basketball or baseball games outside of work. But remember – it’s not just about your employees. One of the best things an employer can do to encourage fitness at work is to lead by example. So make sure your shoes can handle the climb upstairs tomorrow morning.

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