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15 Easy hacks that make your desk job healthier

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

How your health can play nice with your office job

Working full time isn't an excuse to neglect your health. But with these hacks, you can fit your office fitness into just five minutes.

1. Ask for a standing desk

Sitting for long periods of time is insanely bad for your cardiovascular health, not to mention your back and hip flexors. Ask for a standing desk to keep your muscles and heart as healthy as possible.

2. Sit on an exercise ball

If a standing desk is out of the question, sit on an exercise ball as you work. Simply sitting on it will help stabilize your core muscles. Start with a few minutes a day, and build from there.

3. Keep a small cup at your desk

Love your water glass? Keep it small, so you'll have an excuse to go to the water cooler for a refill. Moving your legs just a few times a day promotes blood flow and muscle health.

4. Set a stretching timer

Every hour on the hour, stretch your neck and chest muscles to prevent fatigue and shoulder pain. You only need one or two minutes each hour to obtain lasting results.

5. Eat lunch outside

Sunlight refreshes your energy and mood, without so much as a cup of coffee. Grab real sunlight — rather than terrible fluorescent lights — by taking your lunch break outside. Plus, you'll get a walk in while you head to and from your destination, something you'd miss if you stayed sitting at your desk for your meal.

6. Avoid e-mailing questions

On that note, forget the office page system, too. If you need to talk to a co-worker, walk by his or her office to chat.

7. Ban your trashcan

But it's so annoying to walk to the community trashcan to dump a sticky note, right? Wrong. It's not annoying, and it will allow you to walk more regularly, and possibly even interact with co-workers.

8. Walk and talk

Speaking of walking (since health professionals know that moderate daily exercise, even in short bursts, prevents a litany of health problems), break the mold by scheduling a walking meeting. Simply chat with your co-workers as you meander outside. Walking can also promote different types of problem solving than what occurs in most board rooms.

9. Plan an easy workout schedule

Toned legs are as easy as 10 lunges, 10 squats and 10 calf raises a day. You can easily squeeze in a basic exercise routine in less than a five-minute bathroom break.

10. Take the stairs

Always, always take the stairs. Whether you're on the second floor or the 10th, you'll get your heart pumping and your legs toned by taking a few stair steps a day.

11. Stand for print and fax jobs

Don't wait 10 minutes to walk from your desk to the printer after starting the job. Stand while you wait for the job to finish, for a few extra moments of standing during the work day.

12. Take a dip

As you wait for your lunch to microwave, do a few tricep dips with the help of the countertop.

13. Breathe deeply

Take 10 deep breaths at the start of your lunch hour. Deep breathing accesses your nervous system to ease stress, which promotes immune and cardiovascular health.

14. Start with water

Dehydration is a real problem in working America, and our five daily cups of coffee certainly aren't helping. Start your day with a glass of water instead. Water is often as energizing as coffee, particularly if you're dehydrated.

15. Smile

Laugh! The workday is too long to face with drudgery. Chatting and laughing with your co-workers for five minutes can reduce stress during the workday and burn a few calories, so don't even feel bad about it.

More quick fitness ideas

5 Incredibly cool ways your smartphone can keep you healthy
4 Easy ways to fall back into fitness
How to feed your body what it needs, pre- and post-workout

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