A fitter day at the office

By Jo Finzi

So how do you keep fit at work? Long working hours are often given as a reason (or excuse) for not taking enough exercise. But fitting some physical activity into your daily working life could help to solve your fitness and weight problems.

A sedentary lifestyle, combined with eating too much of the wrong food, is one of the main causes of weight problems, but there are lots of ways you can introduce some exercise into your working day.

Aim for at least five sessions of 30 minutes moderate physical activity a week; daily if you can manage it. Moderately aerobic exercise raises the heart rate and leaves you slightly breathless and a bit damp or sweaty in warm weather.

Office workout

If you’re sitting down for long periods each day it’s essential to sit correctly at your workstation and to work out in the office. If you fidget constantly throughout the day you could burn as much as 500 calories, the equivalent of a small meal.

To sit well your eyes should be level with the top of your display screen. You should adjust the angle of the backrest slightly so you can rest against it to support your lower back. No support? Roll a towel to make one.

Adjust the angle of the seat so your hips are slightly higher than your knees. Your wrists should be straight and forearms parallel to the desktop and elbows at right angles to your upper arms. Now you’re in the correct position, insert a footrest if your feet aren’t flat on the floor.

UAEasy.com pictureSit downs

Try the following exercises a couple of times a day:

* Two shoulder shrugs (shoulders to ears).
* Half a dozen shoulder rolls, three in each direction.
* A couple of chest stretches (holding hands behind your back and gently pulling shoulders back so shoulder blades move together).
* Seated spine rotations, a couple to each side.

Do these hourly (at your desk or in your car when it’s stationary):
* Four ab toners by sitting slightly forward with knees over ankles, crunching breast and pelvic bones towards each other while drawing belly button towards spine - hold for ten seconds.
* Eight alternate leg stretches beneath the desk, flexing the foot and raising the leg so that knees are parallel and at the same height.
* Six inner thigh squeezes combining buttock clench with pressing the inner thighs together - hold for ten seconds.

Stand ups

Try these exercises while waiting for the kettle to boil, or standing near the vending machine or photocopier:

* Lean with your back against the wall and roll your back down with your arms hanging limply, until your legs are at 90-degree angles with knees over ankles. Hold this position counting to 20 then slowly roll back up again. Repeat two or three times.
* Do ten standing ‘press ups’ (arms wide as for a standard press up) pushing off against the wall.
* Do ten standing tricep ‘press ups’ (with hands and fingers outstretched and thumbs touching) pushing off against the wall to work the triceps at the back of the arm.

Lunchtime larks

Do some of the following exercises with your colleagues:

* Organise football kickabouts for after work or in your lunch hour.
* Go swimming during your lunch hour.
* Walk briskly for 30 minutes at lunchtime, or if the weather is bad go to a gym and walk on the treadmill (jog if you have time for a shower!).
* Walk up and down the stairs at your workplace for 20 minutes at lunchtime.
* Club together with colleagues and hire a personal trainer or a Pilates instructor (or activity of your choice) for a lunchtime or after-work session in the instructor’s premises, or at the workplace, if appropriate.
* Take a skipping rope to the car park and skip for ten to 15 minutes.

Pack your bags

* Pack your sports kit and put it by the front door last thing at night so you don’t forget it in the rush to get to work the next morning.
* Tell everyone you’re going to get fit at lunchtime then they’ll all encourage (nag!) you to make sure you do.

Walk on

Walk as much as you can.

* Walking one mile in 15 minutes burns the same number of calories as running a mile in eight and a half minutes.
* Walking two miles three times a week can reduce your weight by one pound every three weeks.

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