Sitting at a desk for up to eight hours a day can wreak havoc on our bodies – from aches and pains to loss of fitness and weight gain. It can be difficult to find the time to fit in exercise outside of work with everything else we have to do, and unhealthy snacking easily creeps in to our work routine with vending machines, home-bakes and snack drawers!
Over the next few months, Pexel are going to be making more of an effort to change up these routines and try and encourage our staff to be a bit healthier, more mindful of their daily activities and to alleviate the back pain of many of our employees. Read on to find out our top 5 tips for keeping active at work that we will be trialing this month too!
1. Get up!
When you’re engrossed in your work – or even if you are procrastinating – it can be easy to sit at your desk for hours on end without moving or getting up. Sitting in the same position for so long can cause back, neck and shoulder pain, stiff joints and make you lethargic and groggy. Set a timer on your computer or phone to remind you to get up and move every hour – I use the Google Chrome App ‘Break Timer’ that gives me a popup every hour at whatever time I choose, to remind me to get up and move. Go to the toilet, walk around the office, get a cup of coffee or even take a stroll outside. This will stretch your legs and allow you to get some fresh air, shake out any aches and leave you feeling more comfortable, energised and productive!
Use half of your lunch break to go for a walk and instead of phoning your co-worker from 2 desks down, walk over and see them! Stand up when someone calls you – it’ll give your back a break when you don’t need to be sitting down typing!
2. Stretch it out
If you’re still feeling achy or sore in between these hour breaks, try some desk stretching. You can easily stretch your arms, neck and shoulders without getting up as well as your lower back:
You can also help alleviate back and shoulder pain by ensuring that you have good posture and that you aren’t slouching – it’s easy to end up slouching over your keyboard after a while, but this will only cause long term discomfort or pain, so sort it now!
Keep your desk as free of clutter as possible and make sure everything is in easy reach of your chair (phone, keyboard, mouse, water bottle) so that you aren’t over-stretching.
You can even try yoga right at your desk! Check our this video by Yoga with Adriene:
3. Out of sight, out of mind
It’s easy to give into the temptation of unhealthy snacks, especially when co-workers bring in tasty treats or home-bakes to tempt you. If you know you won’t be able to resist these, then try and swap some of your other regular desk snacks for healthier options. Keep a draw full of things such as snack bars, dried fruit, nuts and rice cakes to satisfy those morning or afternoon cravings without visiting the vending machine for crisps or chocolate.
4. Find a spare 17 minutes
Outside of work, we mean!
17 minutes is all you need to fit in a quick workout if you are short on time (or don’t like working out!). Metafit routines are high intensity, full-body workouts that generally take somewhere between 15-20 minutes to complete. There are also many fitness Youtubers that offer quick targeted workouts or yoga videos to help you wake up in the morning or fall asleep at night – some of the office favourites include Blogilates, Yoga with Adriene, Yoga with Candace and Zanna Van Dijk.
For a tried and tested Metafit routine try this (no equipment needed!):
- Do a 5 minute warmup – run, skip, cycle, use the rowing machine if you’re in the gym – just get that heart pumping!
- 25 seconds of squat jumps, 25 seconds rest
- 25 seconds of squat jumps and 25 seconds of press ups (lower the knees if these are too hard!), 25 seconds rest
- 25 seconds of squat jumps, 25 seconds of press ups, 25 seconds of 2 step-dash, 25 seconds rest
- 25 seconds of squat jumps, 25 seconds of press ups, 25 seconds of 2 step-dash, 25 seconds of burpees, 25 seconds rest
- REPEAT this sequences in REVERSE (start with burpees and work back the steps)
- Rest 25 seconds
- Finish with 25 seconds of mountain climbers and a 25 second plank FOUR TIMES with NO BREAKS
5. Need some motivation? Join our walking challenge!
To help motivate our staff, we’ve organised a walking challenge here at Pexel! All you need is a pedometer, pedometer app and a positive mindset to take part. We will be aiming to walk the distance from Glasgow to Brazil in time for the Olympic Games to start – by working as a team we are sure that we can make it there in the next 8 weeks!
Even if you aren’t one of our employees, or don’t have anyone to do the challenge with, you can still challenge yourself and earn rewards for walking and keeping active. Check out this article on the app Bounts which will reward you in vouchers for the steps you walk!
Check back next week for a blog post dedicated to our walking challenge to learn more about it and encourage your office to do something similar! For our employees, more information will be released this afternoon!