Work at a Desk? Get Up and Move!!
Sitting in front of a computer all day, every day, can be harmful to your employees’ health. This is true even for employees who exercise routinely.
Employees who sit for hours at a time are more likely to have joint or bone pain and posture problems. Sitting all day also increases the risk for obesity, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Further, the combination of sitting all day and poor ergonomics – the particular arrangement and design of an employee’s workstation – can reduce an employee’s energy level, alertness, and productivity.
Employees who find it difficult to find time for a lunchtime workout during their workday can increase mobility with simple movements such as stretching, turning, reaching and even fidgeting at regular intervals to improve their workplace health.
Human bodies were designed to move, so encourage employees to keep moving during the workday with these tips:
- Use the stairs.
- If you want to speak to a coworker, walk to his or her desk.
- When a coworker comes to your desk, take the opportunity to stand up and move.
- Place things that you regularly use on a shelf so that you have to stand up or stretch to reach them.
- Suggest standing or walking meetings.
- Review all your tasks to determine which ones you can do while standing.
- Take a brisk walk around your building during breaks.
- Walk briskly to and from your car if you do errands on breaks.
While employees are seated, it is important to stretch often to ease tension and strain in joints and muscles. Here are a few desk exercises to improve employees’ health and wellness:
- Slowly shrug your shoulders to your ears while breathing deeply.
- Clench your fists and stretch your arms out in front of you while drawing circles in the air going both directions.
- Give yourself a bear hug and breath in and out for 15 seconds.
- Do leg extensions.
- Gently stretch your neck muscles by dropping your chin to each shoulder and then front and back.
Consider these additional low-cost options for employees to increase their health and wellness:
- Offer healthy foods in the cafeteria and vending machines.
- Invite the Red Cross, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and other organizations to conduct educational workshops at your facility.
- Offer flextime for employees who want to exercise at lunch.
- Provide educational information to employees by distributing free brochures and health and wellness newsletters.
- Add bike racks to the parking area.
- Work with a local facility to provide free health screenings.
- Provide reimbursement for memberships to off-site exercise facilities.