When you start feeling tired and sore all the time because of the time you spend sitting at your desk, the need to do some exercise becomes the most obvious. Be it because of busy work life, be it because of other stressful things we go through, everyone struggles with finding time for exercise at some point in their life.
Though daily physical activity is not just helpful for getting in shape, it is also a fantastic way of staying healthy and stress-free. But how can you increase your daily physical activity, especially when you have a desk job? In this article, you will find a variety of answers to this question and learn how you can get more active without going to a gym.
How to Be More Active When You Are Busy at Work?
When you have a strict schedule at work, it is even harder to spare some time for daily physical activity, let alone turn physical activity into a habit. However, as we mentioned above, this is not only bad for our physical well-being but also causes stress levels to go up. So, what can you do to change this situation? How can you be more active in your busy work life?
One of the first things you can do is to try walking to your office rather than taking the subway or driving. Of course, you will need to get up a bit earlier than your usual waking time. However, this is one of the most effective ways of increasing daily physical activity. With that being said, though, for some, this may not be very convenient.
If your office is at a distance that you can’t walk every morning, you can try parking your car somewhere in between or get off the subway a couple of stops earlier. This way, you can be more active without putting yourself into much trouble. And when it’s your lunchtime, you can try doing a bit more walking around your office area.
This way, not only will you increase your daily physical activity, but you also will be able to reset yourself and start fresh in the afternoon. Apart from these, you can also try to be more active in the office. For example, instead of emailing your colleagues, you can walk to their desks to inform them about the latest updates. Even though this seems so insignificant, it helps to make your body feel better.
Are There Any Desk Exercises I Can Do While Working?
Well, what if you work from home or your office is not a space that allows you to be more active? How can you do more exercise and be more active? Even though the situation looks desperate, there are things you can do to turn this around. Let’s start small; for example, you can move some stuff you need around your desk, like your bin, to another room.
This way, every time you need to throw something, you will need to get up and walk. Also, if you will be making some phone calls, you can try doing them while walking around. And maybe, instead of keeping your french press or water bottle near your desk, you can try going to the kitchen every time you need a refill.
Note that recent studies have demonstrated that extended sitting or standing, even for just 30 minutes at a time, can be harmful to our health. So, make sure to use every bit of opportunity to move around. With that being said, there are also a couple of exercises you can try. Desk exercises include a variety of advantages, such as enhanced calorie burning during rest.
It’s a fantastic way to add some physical activity to an otherwise idle workday. For example, make it a point to stand up, stretch, and walk around for a brief period of 2-3 minutes every 20 to 30 minutes if your job requires you to sit at a desk. Alternately, you can use desk exercise equipment to keep your lower body moving while you’re seated.
This kind of activity can considerably reduce the health risks associated with sedentary behavior and increase productivity without interfering with your everyday tasks. To help you remember, you can download a water reminder app and set it for every 20 to 30 minutes, for instance. This might help you not get carried away with work stuff and increase your daily physical activity.
Does Stretching Count as Exercise?
You might see stretching as just a way to relax your muscles and think that it doesn’t count as exercise. However, there are some advantages to stretching that may persuade you to incorporate it into your regimen. Especially when you work a desk job that requires you to sit still for prolonged times, stretching is a terrific technique to increase movement without putting too much effort into it.
Workplace stretching breaks are always a good idea because prolonged sitting can make you feel stiff. Because the cause of that stiffness is spending so much time in one position, which leads to particular muscles, such as your hip flexors, adapting by shortening and feeling tight. And a regular static stretching regimen may aid in reversing that adaptive shortening and so lessening that aching sensation by enhancing muscular flexibility.
Additionally, you can ease that tightness by just increasing your daily movement. What’s a simple way to do that? Performing five minutes of active stretching per hour, including hip circles and arm hugs with swinging motions. These quick spurts of action, according to health authorities, will help you greatly in your fight against daytime tightness. But stretching is not only good for your physical health.
When deep breathing is combined with stretching, it can be very calming for the mind. So, you can also consider stretching as a natural form of self-care. This activity can serve as a potent reminder that you took the time to do something restorative for yourself, in addition to giving you a sense of release and strengthening your connection to your body.
How to Adjust Your Environment to Be More Active?
Now that we talked about how you can adjust yourself to the environment you are in to be more active, let’s talk about the opposite of it; how you can adapt your environment to be more active. Though, note that this may not be possible for everybody since not every one of us has enough space or work in an office that allows flexibility.
But if you have that kind of flexibility, for example, you can request a new desk that you can adjust the height of from your boss. You have probably seen these kinds of desks on social media; they allow you to adjust the height so that you can work standing whenever you want. This way, you can prevent the pain that comes from sitting on a chair for a long time.
If you work from home, maybe you can ask for a fund to upgrade to an adjustable desk. You can even get an under-desk treadmill if you have enough space. This way, you can increase your physical activity ideally without compromising your working hours. And if these don’t seem possible, you can try to persuade your boss to pay a gym membership compensation.
Though it might seem like a long shot, it is a must. In Europe, many companies are now paying their employees a gym allowance. At first, this might seem like a one-sided benefit to your boss. However, considering exercising help people be more focused and calm, this is something any boss would benefit from.
How to Be More Active in General?
Up until now, we mostly talked about what you can do to be more active when working a desk job. However, even without having a desk job, doing more physical activity can sometimes be challenging. Especially if you don’t like working out or going to a gym, you might find it difficult to find physical activities that will keep you fit and healthy.
Though if you think about it, there are many things you can do to be more active. But first of all, you need to stop finding excuses for yourself. For example, you don’t need to drive everywhere! Instead, you can try going to a coffee shop in the morning or taking your dog for a walk. Even though these things may seem insignificant, when turned into a habit, they can boost your physical health perfectly.
If you live in an apartment with an elevator, you might also try taking the stairs instead of using the lift, even when taking the trash out. Apart from these, there is one other thing you can do even if you are not a fan of fitness; swimming! Who wouldn’t like swimming, right? Besides, it’s not only good for our health but also a fantastic way of quickly getting more fit and hot.
But unfortunately, most people overlook this type of exercise and don’t consider it, especially in winter. However, I’m sure you can find a facility with a pool around your area where you can visit for at least a couple of days per week. With that being said, if you find going swimming a lot of work, you can find a group of friends who play sports regularly or create one yourself.
Golfing, basketball, or football are excellent ways of exercising. And when done regularly with a fun friend group, these activities can also be a perfect way to socialize and have fun. Especially if you get intimidated by the word exercise, this might be a way to trick your mind. Since this activity will be associated with joy, it can change your perception of physical activity and invite you to be healthier.
How to Overcome Perceived Barriers to Physical Activity?
Men between the ages of 30 and 50 are often quite busy with their jobs and families. When spare time is scarce, choosing delightful pursuits comes naturally. As a result of this, men won’t engage in physical activity if they don’t find it enjoyable. However, according to research, as long as the total amount of energy expended is roughly the same, you can divide your 30 minutes of exercise into two 15-minute blocks or even three 10-minute blocks.
Apart from that, some men hold to the myth that only physically taxing and difficult activities are valuable because of a familiar saying; no pain, no gain. But exercise doesn’t have to be extremely strenuous. Any activity that uses large muscle groups, like walking, gardening, or even washing a car, is typically strenuous enough to be beneficial to your health. And lastly, most men don’t consider health a top priority.
Unfortunately, a health concern may be the only thing that spurs people to exercise more. Join a fitness group or try working out with a buddy. If skipping a session would mean disappointing someone, you would be less likely to do so. Instead, choose an alternative, such as riding a stationary bike so you can watch television or read a book at the same time if you can’t find a partner or find the activity dull.
To sum it up, there are many things you can do to be more active physically. Whether you work a desk job from an office, from home, or you are just busy with other stuff, increasing physical activity is still possible. All you need to do is to break some lazy habits and stop creating excuses for yourself.
And even though it may not seem much, even by just changing small things, you can do better and get more active. And if you get carried away by your schedule, as we mentioned before, you can download an app that will remind you to get up and move around or join an activity group to get motivated.