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NewsTribune photo/Shannon Crawley-Serpette Nick Davis, recreation coordinator at Bureau County Metro Center in Princeton, sits on an exercise ball while at his desk. Davis said there are many ways to fit in a little exercise while at work.
- Stretch throughout the day - Consider using an exercise ball and bands - Take a quick walk - Take a power workout at nearby gym - Squat when getting up and down from chair - Vary your position when seated - Do wall push-ups
Here’s one more reason to dread the 9 to 5 daily grind: If you sit at a desk during your work hours, you could be setting yourself up for some dire health consequences.
Eight hours at a desk is a long chunk of time in which you aren’t getting any exercise. And that’s a bad thing because while you are earning a living, you might also be bringing yourself closer to death.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that those who are physically active generally live longer than those who aren’t. Their overall health is usually better, too, because they have a lower risk for some cancers, type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and depression, according to the CDC.
Aubrey Stiennen of Ladd makes a conscious effort to squeeze as much fitness in as she can during her work day.
She does leg lifts while in her chair or while standing and tries to do squats anytime she has to lift something.
“There are also loads of stretches I do … that I find so helpful while working in customer service and doing lots of standing and not much ‘moving,’” she said.
Stiennen notices a benefit to finding ways to sneak in exercise.
“It does help with my concentration for sure. Keeps blood pumping where it needs to be and keeps me from getting super sore and tired when I get home,” she said.
Varying the position you are in while working at your desk is important, according to Nick Davis, recreation coordinator at Bureau County Metro Center.
“Stretching is very important,” he said.
Stretching and taking quick breaks can help you avoid the aches and pains that can be caused by spending long hours sitting at a desk, he said. Quick exercises such as making a fist and squeezing it for 10 seconds are good for your body and are not disruptive at the workplace, Davis said. Doing a squat every time you sit down utilizes muscles you otherwise might be ignoring.
Davis is no stranger to desk jobs and the toll they can take on the body.
“At my last job, it was an office job and I sat at a computer for eight to 10 hours,” he said.
It was at this job that Davis first used an exercise ball instead of a chair while at his desk.
“It’s really good for your core,” Davis said.
Davis also recommends getting up from your desk and walking around as often as you can.
“Drink more water so you can go to the restroom more,” he said. “Rather than e-mailing someone in your office, walk over to their work station.”
Davis suggests making the most of your lunch break to fit in even more exercise.
Exercise bands can be used for arm exercises. Lace up some tennis shoes and take a quick walk or jog near the workplace. Or if you are near a fitness facility, like the Metro Center, try to save 15 minutes of an hour lunch to do a power workout there, he said.
Wall push-ups are a quick exercise that can be done anywhere.
“If you have the space, you can do them on the floor,” he said.
Finding ways to incorporate a little exercise into your work day does more than just tone your body — it is also good for your mind.
“It helps with your concentration,” Davis said. “You’ll be happier, healthier and more productive.”