Working (Out)

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// by Noor Ashouri

It’s been a struggle figuring how to mix business and fitness. We know we should be active, but our jobs require us to sit 9 AM-5 PM. While we glue ourselves to our desks in an effort to be productive, it may actually be slowing us down. Sources say small movement throughout the day increases productivity and allows us to be active (no gym equipment required).

Chiropractic physician Dr. Jon Paul Fritz says taking a 5-10 minute break every 30-60 minutes would be ideal, but how many bosses are going to let their employees do that? Instead, Fritz suggests microbreaks. These are 30 seconds spent stretching every 20 minutes. While this may seem nominal, these 30 second microbreaks add up to an hour of stretching weekly.

“The problem you run into across the board is remembering to take these microbreaks,” Fritz says. “The number one way of achieving that is setting alerts on your smartphone or on your computer to time you out.”

Not only will your body thank you for this but so will your boss. “Your job performance is going to improve just because of stretching,” Fritz says, “You’re going to be become more alert and more aware of what you’re doing.”

Registered dietitian Mindy Black says more research has found sitting down for long periods feeds into an unhealthy lifestyle. “More and more we’re finding sitting down for long periods of time is worse than eating bad or watching TV or any of the other awful habits,” Black says.

In fact, 90 percent of Americans will experience back pain at least once in their lifetime, Fritz says, and it’s because we sit so much.

“Just standing is going to increase your blood flow and engage your core muscles,” Fritz says.

Black adds that the biggest misconception when it comes to exercise is that is has to be all or nothing, when in fact small movements throughout the day provides long-term benefits in disease prevention.

“Whether you did it all at once or if you split it up during the day, move at least 30 minutes throughout the day,” Black says.

Both Black and Fritz agree; every movement counts. “[Move] your printer so you have to physically get up and walk to it instead of having it on your desk,” Fritz suggests. “Get a glass instead of having the big gulp sitting at your desk.”

When able, get up from your desk and move for 10 minutes every two hours. Take a walk around all the cubicles or do some squats at your desk. Movement will increase your energy levels.

“Instead of feeling like at 3 o’clock you need to reach for that Mountain Dew or coffee, you may be able to take a brisk walk and that can wake you up,” Black says.

Whether it’s setting an alert on your phone or partnering with a co-worker to remind each other, the key is to avoid getting so caught up in your job that you forget your own wellness.

“I think the biggest barrier is that we all think we’re more important than we are,” Black says, “We feel like our job or whatever it is in front of us cannot be without us for one possible minute and that’s not true.”

Being active doesn’t necessarily require hitting the gym. Coffee, meetings and emails are likely part of your work routine. Let being active seep into your work routine as well.