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Improving Fitness at Work

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 5/19/2011

Improving your fitness at work kills two birds with one stone. You get paid and you get fit.

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    Fitness at Work: What to Tell Your Boss

    You need money. Jobs pay money. You have a job. You spend a lot of time there. Too much time, but you need money. You leave your job, tired and hungry, and a wee bit irritated. You eat, a lot. You're too tired to exercise. You just want to sleep. You understand that if you could change your habits at work, you could become more fit. Here's what you may not know:

    1. Healthy employees miss work less often due to illness. Tell your boss you need an extra 15 minutes for lunch to work out in order to prevent the future use of sick days. Cite the tub-of-lard in the adjacent cubicle's 13 sick days last month for extra support.
    2. Healthy employees are more productive. Tell your boss you need an extra 15 minutes for lunch to work out in order to boost productivity. Cite the guy taking a nap in the adjacent cubicle who hasn't exercised since the turn-of-the-century for support.
    3. Healthy employees look better. People are more likely to do business with you if you look better. There's no need to get on your high horse over this one. People are judged on their appearance. I'm not saying it's fair. It's just the way it is. Tell your boss you need an extra 15 minutes for lunch to work out in order to boost sales. Don't cite his slovenly appearance and a recent dip in sales for support.
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    Tips for Maintaining Fitness at Work

    Fitness is a choice. Fitness at work begins with you. Here's what you can do at work.

    1. Food is the most important aspect of fitness. Unless you work in a sweat shop in China, you are allotted time to eat. You can choose to eat healthy or you can eat a triple Whopper with cheese. You are also allotted breaks. Use these breaks to eat healthy snacks--vegetables, fruit, and other things your mother made you eat when you were four. If you work in an office, stock it with healthy snacks.
    2. Movement is important. This is not an issue if you're a construction worker. It is an issue if you sit in front of a computer screen all day. Even those who exercise on a regular basis need to get up and move. Go to page 2 for simple exercises you can do right at your desk. At the very least, get up and stretch or walk around.
    3. Bring workout clothes. Put them on before you leave the office. Stop somewhere before you get home and exercise. If you go home before exercising, you'll end up on the couch with a truckload of Cheetos and a case of Old Milwaukee.
    4. Find a supportive friend at work. As soon as you announce your intentions to be more fit, at least 14 people bring candy bars the next day. Avoid those people. Find someone to get fit with you.
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    What is Ergonomics?

    Ergowhat? Ergonomics is the science of work. It deals with how to make work comfortable and efficient. So what does that have to do with you being fit? The more efficient you are at work, the less likely you are to feel stress. The less stress you feel, the more likely you are to not overeat and the more likely you are to exercise. The more comfortable you make your work environment, the less likely you are to acquire common office injuries, such as carpel tunnel. Following are the benefits of an ergonomically sound work environment:

    1. Improved Posture - It's hard to get excited about exercise when your back hurts.
    2. Less Fatigue - Efficiency means less wasted energy, energy that can be used for exercise.
    3. Improved Quality of Life - A good ergonomic design improves your outlook on life. An improved outlook on life motivates.

    Here are tips for a more ergonomically designed workplace:

    1. Align your computer monitor so the top of it is at eye level, more than 20 inches from your face, with a 10-20-degree tilt.
    2. Get a comfortable chair, one that's adjustable. Learn how to adjust it and do so regularly for maximum comfort.
    3. Stand and stretch at regular intervals--every 15-20 minutes.
    4. Minimize head turning.
    5. Focus on an object 20 feet away every 20 minutes to ease eye stress.
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    Workplace Exercises

    Sometimes you just can't get away from the desk. Try these exercises.

    1. Jumping Jacks - These might cause people to stare. Looking darn hot because of regular exercise causes people to stare too. Acquiring a deadly disease due to lack of exercise also causes people to stare.
    2. Push-ups - This classic exercise works the upper body--chest and shoulders mainly. Gambling on who can do the most push-ups at once adds excitement to an otherwise dull day (along with getting you fired or arrested).
    3. Sit-ups - Get those rock solid abs at work. A small piece of equipment such as an ab-roller works wonders.
    4. Dips - These work triceps.
    5. Lunges - Lunges increase leg strength. They're much more efficient than knee bends and are easier on the back. To do a lunge, follow these steps: (1) Stand straight; (2) Put your right foot forward and bend your left knee until it nearly touches the ground; (3) Return to starting position; (4) Repeat until you fall or get too tired to move; (5) Switch legs; (6) Repeat.
    6. Band Exercises - This doesn't refer to musical instruments. It refers to resistance bands. It gives you an array of exercises. If you don't like them, you can use them as weapons.