How to Stay Fit at Work

Stay fit at work | Medical Aid | 

An office job pays our monthly expenses but being confined to a desk for 7-8 hours a day does not benefit our body’s well-being. And, even though you may go to the gym for a couple of hours on a regular basis, sitting at your desk for so many hours is not really ideal for your spine. That’s why we asked two fitness experts to fill us in on how one can stay fit with an office job.


Here’s what the experts at Origin Fitness had to say:


“According to statistical averages, most people sit for more than nine hours a day. Whether you're on the bus or train to work or sitting at your desk, you can make some creative use of your chair time, and give yourself some muscle-toning and health benefits. A good place to start is in becoming more active during the day, by using your office space as a fitness playground.


1. Walking: Try to get up off your chair and have a quick walk around at least once an hour. It doesn’t have to be a long walk and you can try adding in other healthy habits such as walking to get a glass of water, or a couple minutes of sun and fresh air.  


2. Workout at your desk: This can be made into a fun office activity, especially if you can get everyone in the office involved. Doing simple exercises like leg raises, leg extensions, arm raises and rotations in your chair allows you to tone and strengthen muscles and burn extra calories throughout the day. Adding these simple but effective routines into your work day will help prevent the negative side effects of sitting for hours on end, and will help you feel better and become more productive at work.  


3. Ergonomic make-over: Try and make adjustments to your workspace that allow you to form healthier habits more easily. For example, make sure that your computer is setup correctly to prevent excess stress on your neck and spine. You can also try standing while working at an elevated desk or counter, or stand and hold your laptop while reading long emails. You can also get fancy and get a treadmill or bicycle desks. 


4. Make healthier decisions: Making simple changes to your daily routine can also assist in increasing fitness levels and reducing excess body weight. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk over to a colleague to ask a question.”


Sitting | Medical Aid |


Here’s what the fitness experts at BODYTEC® had to say:


“An office environment doesn’t give you many options to get your heart rate up, apart from using the stairs (two at a time) over the lift, or offering to do the coffee run for your colleagues. However, keeping your back healthy and your core strong can go a long way in ensuring that you are able to effectively exercise outside of the office without injuring yourself. Key to this is how you sit at your desk.


Sitting on a Pilates ball, an ergonomic chair or attaching a back support, all help to engage your core so that those hours spent sitting don’t go to waste.”


“Alex Johl, field service consultant and trainings manager at the BODYTEC® Academy, recommends the following exercises you can do at your desk or around the office:


  • Desk Chair Squats – Raise yourself off your chair using just your legs until you reach a standing position, then slowly lower your legs and your bum until your bum touches the chair again. Repeat this process 15 times.


  • Office wall/desk push-ups – Put your hands on your wall or end of desk, slowly lower yourself down until your elbows come to a 90-degree bend then push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat the process 15 times (males can do desk push-ups as it is more difficult, females can do wall push-ups unless they are strong enough to try the desk).


  • Raise yourself onto your tippy toes and then slowly back down onto your heels. Repeat 15 times.


  • In chair transverse abdominis activation(core)/ leg raises - Maintain sitting position in chair, with one leg bent at 90 degrees with heal on the floor, straighten your other leg and do small pulses of 15 repetitions. Try to get the pulses as high as you can while maintaining your core activation (pull bellybutton in towards the spine). Change onto the other leg and do another 15 repetitions.”


Final thoughts

Even if you’re not a personal trainer or firefighter, keeping your body moving with a few steps in and around your office space can help keep you in good shape. We’re also reminded that apart from exercise, a healthy diet and getting adequate sleep are critical for our well-being and promote our ability to remain focused at work. With certain Medical Aid providers, you can also enjoy added benefits that promote health and fitness.

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