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Mini workouts for the working day

Stuck at a desk? Here are some simple tips for building more physical activity into your work time

There are ways to break up time spent sitting at a desk and incorporate movement and physical activity into your working day without reducing your productivity. Try these simple ideas from our friends at Active Dorset

                   

Work on your feet

Identify what tasks you can do while standing on your feet or set up a standing desk area to stimulate blood flow and engage idle muscles. That way you can stretch or move a little while reading emails or reports, or watching webinars.

Plan your meetings

Can’t avoid back to back zoom meetings? Find a time when you can turn your camera off for a few minutes to walk or stretch on the spot. When planning a long meeting, schedule short breaks into the agenda and stick to them.

Make simple changes

Simple changes to your environment or culture can make a big difference. Introduce signage to encourage people to use the stairs or position the printer or recycling station a little further from desk areas to encourage a few more steps during the day.

   

Move at your desk

In a never-ending meeting or unable to get up from your chair? Do some simple stretches while  sitting at your desk to relive the tension and stiffness from not moving. If you are on a video call, you can still stretch your legs and core muscles without anyone knowing!

Take advantage of nature

Being active outdoors will have the biggest effect on your mental health. If you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious at work, take some time to get outdoors to help put you in the best frame of mind for productive work. Consider organising a walking meeting with colleagues out in the fresh air.

Be ready for action

Finished your meeting early? Wear comfortable clothes and footwear every day and take the opportunity to do something active for a few minutes when work commitments allow.

                 

Lunchtime escapes

A lunchtime walk or movement break with colleagues is one of the easiest ways to be active at work. Set up a recurring calendar invite and commit. Just 10 minutes of brisk walking can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing. If you can’t be with each other in person, take some headphones and have a chat on the phone while you walk.

Be aware of your energy levels

Manage your schedule around your energy levels – if you usually have an afternoon slump, do something active when your concentration levels are at their lowest for a boost in focus, energy and productivity.

Use the daylight

Daylight boosts serotonin levels and makes us feel better. Shorter days in winter limit our opportunity for sunlight so if you can be flexible with your working hours, why not walk the dog (or yourself!) in daylight hours and catch up on emails when it’s dark.

Use your thinking time

Have a tricky work problem to solve? While you’re thinking about solutions, have something active you can do to stimulate blood flow to your brain.

 

 

 

How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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