Everyone’s heard of the “runner’s high”, and the upswing in mood post-exercise has been widely reported. Even a quick thirty minutes of your preferred form of exercise can boost your mood. Conversely, staring at a screen all day tends to cause lethargy and a desire to bolt out the door at the end of a long workday. The catch-22 is that we, as employees, need to stare at a screen all day to do our jobs well, but we can suffer from the aforementioned tedium as a result.
So what’s to be done?
In an ideal world, everyone would rise before dawn or head to the gym in the post-work hours, but for many neither option is feasible. Gymming it on the lunch hour may seem like a solution, but the pre- and post-workout prep time involved leaves little time to actually get your blood pumping. Many offices have implemented incentives and allocated time specifically to encourage their employees to exercise; this company even instituted a daily in-office training hour.
For employees in offices without the time or resources to provide facilities and opportunities for fitness, a few minor changes can make a significant difference. It’s tough to get off your butt and out the door, but even thirty minutes of cardio or resistance exercise can improve your whole day.
Change up your seat. The Rabbits recently purchased an ergonomic work station from Focal Upright Furniture that’s meant to work with the ideal human body alignment to prevent harmful spine curvature and encourage active sitting, requiring the body to do more than just plop down. The chairs resemble large, oddly-shaped stools, and sitting on one for even a small amount of time produces a noticeably different feel than sitting on a desk chair. For those of us who are vertically challenged, an equally engaging option is a yoga ball. The lack of stability in a yoga ball (those things always seem to be rolling around the gym unchecked) requires the sitter to engage their abdominal muscles, almost unconsciously. The ball also discourages users from crossing their legs.
Socialize. We Rabbits are big fans of our coworkers, and we definitely like to chat. We also like walks to the local grocery store, coffee breaks at Starbucks, and the occasional Thirsty Thursday get together in the kitchen (we promise, we work plenty in between our little breaks!). The point is, we get up and move a bit every day. We could always do more, though: many health and fitness magazines suggest setting a timer on your phone to remind you to get up every thirty minutes or so. Go grab a glass of water, or catch up with your work best friend for a few minutes. Just be sure you’re making time in your day to give your seat a break!
Become accountable. If getting up and out of your seat during the day isn’t enough for you, there’s a plethora of cheap (or even free!) options for exercising en masse. Working out in a group or meeting up with a friend are great ways to make sure you don’t bail – if someone’s waiting for you, you can’t just not show up! I’m personally a big fan of group exercise outside of a gym, and lucky for me our city has several options. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
- L Street Running Club – One of the oldest running clubs in the city, this group has a lot of friendly, well-versed veterans who love to help newbies through the process of training for their first race or just getting started in the world of recreational running. During the long runs, members volunteer to help each other out with water stops every 3ish miles. Membership is a small annual fee, and it’s well worth it – the group hosts two 18-week marathon training sessions per year, one of which is geared specifically towards the Boston Marathon.
- Nike Run Club and Training Classes – Located in a central spot on Newbury Street in Boston, the Nike store offers everyone (customer or non-customer) the opportunity to get moving in a variety of ways. From yoga, to short and long distance runs, to Barry’s Bootcamp in the store, Nike is able to meet a variety of needs and does so in a friendly, accommodating, and encouraging atmosphere.
- The November Project – Since its two-man, rain-or-shine founding right here in Boston, the November Project has spread rapidly to reach a huge number of cities throughout the US. Members of this (totally free) community are like a big family, and most sport homemade gear with a spray-painted logo across the front. NP meets three times a week; here in Boston, there’s a toss-up day of varied activity, hill runs, and Harvard Stadium step runs.
- Back On My Feet – Looking to get a little philanthropic with your workouts? BOMF is a pretty amazing program – it was created to help homeless men and women motivate themselves and gain a sense of purpose through a healthy lifestyle. Volunteers and runners meet several times a week to cover short distances early in the morning, though several members are also training towards a significant goal like a marathon. In addition to getting a great workout in and supporting the organization, you’ll also have some amazing conversations and bonding experiences.
So pick your poison! There are so many ways, big and small, to get moving. Don’t get stuck in your chair – get up!