As the colder weather arrives and the days get shorter, you might be finding it increasingly difficult to stay motivated at work.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a condition triggered mainly by lack of natural daylight in winter, is said to affect one in five people in the UK and can negatively impact alertness and productivity in the workplace.
Staying active is one way to combat the effects of the winter blues and could even improve your mental wellbeing. But with the rain and wind making you feel as if you’re chained to your desk, with no hope of a workout unless that includes typing, burning calories while in the office seems an almost impossible task.
However, if you’re willing to brave a few strange looks from your colleagues and stay positive, there are ways you can get active at work which will improve your mood and productivity. You may even burn a few calories too!
Try the obvious
Start with those suggestions you’ve probably heard before: park further away and take the stairs to kick-off the day with a spark of activity. Another good way to increase your step count is to avoid emailing your colleague or manager and walking over to their desk to communicate your message in person. By all means, follow up with an email if you need a paper trail! The benefits of moving for just a couple of minutes are huge.
Incorporate coffee (or tea) break workouts
Obviously, you can’t spend an hour a day on your exercise regime instead of working – unless you have an active job – but if you spend 10 minutes getting active rather than making your tea or coffee (or even at the same time), then you can make some good headway.
Jog on the spot or to and from the kettle; wall sit or squat for 10 minutes; do bicep curls with small dumbells you keep under your desk or even some decently weighted stationery.
Get on your feet
It’s been proven that standing is much healthier than sitting and cuts down on many diseases. When you’re on the phone, stand up or even walk around your office a little bit. If possible, see about getting a standing desk and initiating walking meetings. Regularly getting up to fill up your water bottle is a good way to ensure you’re drinking enough too.
Another popular equipment option is to replace your standard office chair with an exercise ball for short periods throughout the day. These can help build your core strength and keep your posture more aligned. However, it still takes some thought, because you can just as easily slouch on an exercise ball as your average desk chair.
You may not see immediate benefits from these ideas to keep you active at work, but in the long-term, you’ll undoubtedly see how helpful they are. Regular and planned activity throughout the day will also provide a welcome break for some people from what might be a mundane daily work routine.