It is challenging to explain how even as much as 5 minutes of physical movement can make people more successful at their jobs. Regular exercise is essential for good health, but unfortunately knowing this is not enough motivation for many office workers to get moving during their day. An abundance of research is showing that even a short walk during the workday can lead to a happier, more productive work environment. Instead of drinking an energy drink for a quick pick-me-up, a low or moderate intensity exercise will increase energy levels and decrease feelings of fatigue. Studies have found that job burn-out and depression were highest among those who did not exercise while participants who were physically active were happier. The benefits of walking are numerous. Creativity is improved due to opening up a "free flow" of ideas and the ability to solve problems quicker during the day. Engaging in regular exercise can also yield a higher percent of wage increase, earning you not only healthier muscles but a healthier paycheck.
A few simple, time-efficient strength exercises you can do at the office are the following:
Chair Squats: Start seated in a chair, then stand up. More challenging – Do squats without the chair.
Desk push-ups: Place both hands on the desk shoulder-width apart then lower the body until the elbows reach 90 degrees and press back up to starting position. More challenging – Perform push-ups on the floor, either on the toes or knees or with feet elevated on a chair.
Hip bridges: Lie on the floor face up with knees bent to 45 degrees and feet flat on the ground. Elevate the hips toward the ceiling until there is a straight line from the knees to the shoulders. More challenging – Place both feet on a chair and perform the exercise.
Elbow plank: Lie face down with elbows underneath the shoulders. Rest on the knees or toes, keeping the trunk muscles tight. Hold for 10 – 30 seconds. Do NOT hold breath. More challenging – From elbow plank, lift one leg at a time then lower.
Dips: Sit in the chair, placing the hands on the side of the chair. Press down until the hips are elevated. More challenging – move the body to the front of the chair to increase range of motion, then dip down and up.
Perform 5 to 15 repetitions of these exercises in a circuit style format, resting as necessary and repeating the circuit if time allows.
For cardiovascular exercise simply get out of your chair and walk around. You can also march in place then bring the knees up to hip height. Try stepping from side to side, swinging your arms or reaching up to the ceiling.
What are you waiting for? – change your ways!