There is a lot of talk about the health risks of inactivity (Sitting is The New Smoking!) and sitting all day at an office job doesn't make it easy to be active. Over the past few years the research has grown citing the many dangers of sitting too much; they include an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, some forms of cancers, weight gain and even premature death (Chau et al. 2012; Dustan, Thorp, & Healty 2011; van der Ploeg et al. 2012.)
Some may fear that taking breaks during the workday will keep them from getting their work done. Researchers have found otherwise. On days participants in one study exercised, they reported improvements in mood and job performance (Coulson, McKenna & Field 2008). Another study found that walking had a large effect on creativity (Oppezzo & Schwartz 2014). The creative boost was more significant if done outside. It was after returning to their seats that participants experienced the boost. Other studies demonstrate exercise has an immediate benefit on cognitive ability.
Good news, it doesn't take a lot of exercise to see improvement in cognition, creativity and productivity (plus help you prevent all the risks of too much inactivity!). Here are a few simple and quick workouts that don't require any special equipment.
1. Walk! Take a break with coworkers and walk around the building. Bonus if you can move that walk outside. Next time you find yourself talking with a coworker in the office, get up and make it a walking chat or meeting.
2. Perform the following exercises at your desk. 5 - 15 reps of each. Repeat 2-3 times.
- Chair Squats
- Desk Push Ups
- Elbow Plank
- Dips on Desk
3. Perform the following moves for 20 seconds with a 10 second break in between. Repeat 2 - 3 times.
- High Knee March
- Plank Knee Tuck
- Step Touch
- Hamstring Curl