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Get Fit While at Work

Penn Medicine gives you 9 great tips to fit in some type of workout during those 8+ work hours. 

These days, it seems as though more and more people are working longer hours and using the old "no-time-to-exercise" excuse. 

Unfortunately, this lack of physical activity can be harmful to your health, as it increases the risk of obesity, back pain, poor posture, leg cramps and tense muscles, among other things.

“The most profitable investment you can make in life is in your physical fitness,” says sports medicine physician Michael C. Schettino, MD. “Any type of physical activity can improve an individual’s health.”

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find a way to fit in some type of workout during those 8+ work hours? 
Well, the good news is…you can. It just requires a slight change in how you work or get to work, to make a meaningful improvement. 

 

Cardio

Schedule walk-and-talk meetings. Who says a meeting needs to be held around a table? Take a brainstorming stroll with a colleague. If you need to take notes, schedule the meeting at a park where you can sit on a bench.

Avoid the elevator. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise to stay fit. Stair climbing for just 10 minutes, three times a day, for example, will total 30 minutes of heart-strengthening exercise, putting you well on your way to reaching that mark.

Take a stand. Set a timer to remind yourself to get out of your chair every 30 minutes. Use this time to walk to the water cooler or check in on a project.

 

Flexibility

Reach for the sky. Sitting at a desk all day can lead to neck pain between the shoulder blades. You can reduce the pain by reaching both arms up to the ceiling and arching your back. Then bring your arms down and stretch forward, opening the upper back. Do this every 20 minutes.

Stretch out your shoulders. Sit straight in your chair and reach one hand behind your back with your palm out. Then reach your other hand up and bend it down, trying to touch both hands. Hold for 10 seconds.

Point your fingers. Typing for eight straight hours can be harmful to your hands, wrist and forearms. Stretch one hand in front of you, pointing your fingers toward the ground. Use your other hand to gently push your fingers down and toward your body. Repeat on the other side. Then, stretch your hands upward doing the same.

 

Strength

Tone your arms wherever you can. A great way to sneak fitness into your day is to do a few push-ups here and there. Remember, all you need is a flat surface – and it doesn’t need to be horizontal. Simply lean against a wall, desk or other sturdy surface and get a few reps in.

Rise up out of your chair. Even if you are stuck in your chair all day, you can still get some core work in. Throughout the day, simply lift yourself off your chair with your arms.  If your chair is on wheels, it'll be even harder to hold your body still.

Get your legs up. While sitting in your chair, extend one leg out straight in front of you and hold for a few seconds. Then raise it up as high as you can and hold it again for a few seconds. Repeat with each leg multiple times.

These simple actions can significantly increase your physical health. Squeezing in a little exercise also improves concentration and could actually improve your productivity. Also, don’t forget…

“The steps taken to improve physical fitness today will increase the likelihood of climbing the future steps of tomorrow,” said Dr. Schettino.

Interested in more helpful tips for staying healthy? Check out our Patient Resources section.

Need help finding a primary care doctor in your area?


Penn Medicine
Penn Medicine Valley Forge
1001 Chesterbrook Blvd Berwyn, PA 19312
800.789.PENN (7366)
PennMedicine.org/ValleyForge


Access to the region's finest health care is conveniently located in your neighborhood. Penn primary care physicians and health care providers offer outstanding, personalized care for patients of all ages. If more specialized care is needed, Penn patients have access to the most advanced treatment options and a team of experts in various specialties dedicated to keeping you healthy for a lifetime.


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