By Jonathon Stavres MS, ACSM-EP-C
Have you ever participated in your work softball game? Was it a fun experience; something that took your mind off of work for a little while and allowed you to enjoy the outdoors? Imagine if every day at work you had a short distraction that allowed you to get active and let off a little bit of steam.
Here are some methods for integrating short activity breaks into your work day.
A research study examined the relationships between time spent sitting at work, mental well-being, and work productivity. The researchers examined physical activity levels during the week and weekend; and time spent sitting during the week and weekend independently. Evidence suggested that more physical activity during the week and weekend related to better mental well-being, as well as better work productivity.
Similarly, more time spent sitting at work and during the weekends were related to lower work productivity and mental well-being. Research suggests that implementing some form of exercise into your workday can not only benefit you but also your employers.
How can we add exercise into an already busy day?
Some of the more progressive and lucrative corporations in today’s workforce have developed playground-like workspaces for their employees. Google, for example, offers everything from nap stations to treadmill desks for their employees. However, not all employers have the resources or willingness to provide that kind of an atmosphere for their employees.
An inexpensive way to interject sports into your work day is to set up a lunchtime-league. It is not uncommon for universities to have a lunchtime basketball league, where students and faculty play a daily game of basketball at their regularly scheduled lunch breaks. While this does cut into your lunch hour, it is still possible to fit a quick thirty- minute lunch plus a thirty- minute game of hoops into a one hour break.
Another option is racquetball. Racquetball is a very high-paced and active game that varies in difficulty depending on who you play. Match yourself up with another player of similar experience; this can be a great way to add a good chunk of activity into your work day.
The same can be done for swimming, running, etc. If you don’t have access to a facility with accommodating resources; or the weather outside isn’t the greatest. Try commandeering a TV or computer and set up an area where you can follow a thirty minute structured workout program (i.e. P90X or Insanity). Although the names may be intimidating, these are actually very practical and effective exercise programs for a novice exerciser. Of course, you can choose any program you’d like. Again, doing this with a friend will not only make your time a little more enjoyable, but it will also help keep you on track.
There are plenty of ways that you can add a short exercise period into your work day. The more fun that exercise period is the more likely you are able to stick with it. No scientist or fitness professional will tell you that exercise can’t be fun. Make your activity enjoyable, and most importantly consistent.
*For more examples of other variations/exercises look under Multimedia-VDF Exercise Tips
**Consult with a physician and/or medical healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen
Puig-Ribera, A., Martinez-Lemos, I., Gine-Garriga, M., Gonzalez-Suarez, A. M., Bort-Roig, J.,Fortuno, J.,… & Gilson, N. D. (2015). Self-reported sitting time and physical activity: Interactive associations with mental well-being and productivity in office employees. BMC Public Health 15(72), 1-10