Having a desk job may often keep you from moving about in a natural fashion. The less you are active, the more you will experience fatigue and stiffness, both mentally and physically. Taking the time to move around and create a more comfortable environment for yourself may seem like wasted time, but your productivity will actually increase if you take small movement breaks. Here are just a few suggestions of activities that you may perform routinely in order to keep your blood flowing and your productivity high in the office.
How Can You Stay Active Working a Desk Job?
Change Your Mentality
- First, break the mentality that says working without breaks is the most productive schedule that you can make for yourself. As a matter of fact, this is not true! Taking breaks to stay active will allow you to focus better and work more quickly, meaning that you can actually spend less time on work and accomplish more.
Break for 2 Minutes Every 20 Minutes
- That’s right: You should get up to take a 2-minute break from your desk and computer at least 3 times per hour. 20 minutes is just crossing the limit of the mind’s ability to work in a continuous manner. If you continue to work beyond this point without giving the brain the break and extra blood that it needs, you will slow your productivity. This is a physical reality, not a mental trick, so do not think that you can somehow will yourself to work longer or faster. Take the breaks.
Exercise at Least 30 Minutes Per Day
- Exercising at least half an hour per day will help keep your body functioning optimally. Whether you exercise before work, on your lunch break, or after work, make the time to move. You may try to take this extended exercise break at a different time each day, so that you can surprise your body into a faster metabolism and higher mode of productivity. However, if lunch is the only time that you can get this done, then take it at lunch. Use that time for a brisk walk outside, and make sure that your lunch is healthy.
- Alongside blood flow, water is the most important element of productivity that you can give yourself to keep your productivity high. Dehydrated tissues are stiff tissues. Drink half your body weight in water daily (about 1/2 to 1 gallon of water a day). Avoid drinks with added sugar. You do not have to worry about water with electrolytes or any special treatment other than purification. However, making sure that your body always has enough water is a physical reality, not a mental trick, and depriving yourself is doing you no favors. Take the time to ensure that you have the proper hydration to keep blood flowing to your brain and your joints loose.
- Another way to keep your blood flowing is to stretch whenever you feel the urge. The body naturally gives you the feeling that you should stretch when it is feeling stiff and restricted, and that means that blood is not moving as well as it should. The great thing about stretching is that you do not have to take a huge break to do it; the most that you may have to deal with is looking a bit weird at your desk. However, your productivity will speak volumes when it comes to your employee review, so do not worry about what people think of your stretching routine.
Breathe Deeply (Into Your Diaphragm)
- Breathing deeply helps to reduce the amount of stress that you feel. Avoid breathing up into your shoulders; instead, breathe deep into your diaphragm. You will be able to think more clearly, and you will also work faster. Stress does not improve productivity for most people, regardless of how you think you perform under pressure. It takes just 4 deep diaphragmatic breaths to slow down your heart rate, lower cortisol, and reduce stress levels. Take a minute and breathe.
Move Your Muscles
- Finally, move your muscles constantly throughout the day, and make the time to take an exercise class such as yoga or Zumba. Stagnation = stiffness, pain, fatigue. If you are moving your body, you are improving your body.
Not sure if these tips are right for you? Concerned about how to start a stretching routine? A physical therapist can help!
Contact Carlson ProCare today to schedule an appointment with a Physical Therapist!
Andrea Myers, PT, DPT, OCS is a Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist. She graduated from St. Ambrose University in 2006 with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Andrea has a strong background in treating patients with a variety of orthopedic diagnoses, including sports injuries, back and neck pain, and patients who have undergone orthopedic surgery. She has extensive training in manual therapy, including myofascial release, Integrative Manual Therapy, craniosacral therapy, and Kinesiotaping. She is also certified in vestibular rehabilitation for the treatment of vertigo and balance disorders. Andrea is a former professional road cyclist with multiple top-ten placings in international competitions. She is a certified bike fitter and is well known for her knowledge and experience in treating cyclists and multi-sport athletes of all levels.