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Working Workouts into Work

Filed Under: Men's Health at 9:26 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
DeskIn Decatur Georgia, elementary-school students find that their lessons have blossomed to include more than the basics. Reading, writing, math and science are now joined by yoga. Throughout the day, teachers pause regular instruction for a few minutes of downward dog and plank. They match lessons with poses and use the breathing exercises to calm pre-test anxiety. As a result, students have learned new techniques to focus, reduce stress and eliminate pent-up energy. They have also managed to incorporate more exercise into their daily lives.  It seems, to me at least, that we could learn a thing or two from these southern educators.

Most of us sit at desks for hours at a time. We move to use the restroom, grab something from the printer or walk to the car at the end of the day. Otherwise, aside from the occasional shift, our bodies are largely sedentary. They get no break from the sitting and miss out on valuable activity. Finding ways, as the teachers in Georgia have, to incorporate exercise into your work day can rectify the physical inertia. It can also, conveniently enough, give you a break from your mental stress. You’ll pause, move around a little bit and sit down more centered, ready to return to work. But, how do you do it? Should you roll out a yoga mat and practice poses in between meetings?

In a sense, yes. Doing yoga in your office is a fabulous way to become more active. However, you don’t have to take it to the degree you’re probably envisioning. I’m not recommending that you curl into child’s pose on the floor. There is actually a series of movements you can do at your desk, without lifting your rear from the seat.  They stretch you out and feel wonderful. But if you aren’t a part of the yoga-craze or you’d like something you can do without it being explicit that you’re exercising, don’t worry. I have plenty of ideas for you:

• Get a headpiece for your phone. When you’re having a conversation, stand up and move around your office.
• Rather than take breaks to grab a munchie, take breaks to walk. Ten minutes in the afternoon, moving, will be delightfully refreshing.
• Sit on a fitness ball. Store small weights and a resistance band in your drawers. Create a mini-gym at your desk.�
• If you can, move meetings, literally. Brainstorming sessions might be improved by a brisk pace in the halls.
• Take note of the times when you could incorporate activity into an otherwise sedentary day. You’ll find there are more opportunities than you imagined, and you’ll be healthier because of it.�

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