Being physically fit is good for business
By: Reiner Mehltretter
Do you ever get to work in the morning feeling tired before you’ve even started your day?
Up until about two years ago, I was in that boat. Being 30 pounds heavier than I cared to be, I decided that the weight had to come off.
I have always been physically active, enjoying sports of pretty much any kind, but I wasn’t keeping a consistent workout schedule. That and my eating habits left a lot to be desired. It’s not that I ate unhealthy food, I just ate a little too much. Believe it or not, when you eat may be just as important as what you eat. I cut down on snacking, especially after 7:30 p.m.
Most importantly, I focused on the goal of losing those unwanted pounds. I began working out five days a week, which included 30 – 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and another 30 – 45 minutes of working out with weights. I know it sounds pretty fanatical, but the results speak for themselves. I lost the weight and I don’t feel like a slug when I get to work in the morning.
Which brings me to the benefits of exercise and how they apply to the workplace. I’m not suggesting that everyone has to workout like a professional athlete. Merely walking or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can yield very positive results.
Physical fitness isn’t just for athletes. There are many benefits to being a physically fit employee.
Employees who exercise are generally healthier and don’t take as many sick days. They have more energy and are more productive. They are more positive and aren’t as stressed because they work off the physical and mental tensions.
The good thing is, you don’t have to train like a world-class athlete. Here are some simple exercises that you can do at your desk. (Note: Be sure the desk or table and the chair you use are strong enough to support you and positioned so that they will not move while you do the exercises. That would, of course, rule out using chairs, desks and tables that have wheels.)
Stand facing your desk or a table. Place your hands on the edge of the desk, shoulder width apart. Keeping your arms straight, take a couple of steps back until your body is at about a 45 degree angle. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself until your chest barely touches the desk. Push yourself back up until your arms are straight without locking the elbows. Repeat 8 – 12 times. This exercise strengthens the chest, triceps and shoulders.
This is great for the triceps. Stand facing away from your desk (or table). Place your palms down on the edge of the desk and take a couple of steps away from the desk. Keeping your feet close together and flat on the floor, lower yourself until your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Using your arms, push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat 8 – 12 times.
This can be done with a water bottle or you may want to buy some light dumb bell weights (2.5 to 10 pounders). You can do this exercise while seated or standing. Keep your abs in and your spine straight. Hold the weight in your right hand, arm straight down at your side. Slowly curl the weight up to your shoulder and then lower it slowly down to the starting position. Repeat this 10 – 15 times and switch to the left hand for the same number of repetitions.
This will strengthen the legs and hips. Start this exercise seated in your chair. Stand up straight with your feet at shoulder width apart and slowly lower yourself until your backside barely touches the chair and then stand up straight. Repeat 8 – 12 times.
Sit in your chair with your back against the back of the chair and your hands on the armrest for support. Keeping your legs straight, slowly lift them as far as you can and then slowly lower them to the starting position. Do 8 – 12 reps of this exercise. This may also be done one leg at a time. Good for the abs and lower back.
Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Point your chin down toward your chest and fold arms across your chest. Keeping your abs tight, slowly lean your upper body back to about a 45 degree angle. Hold there for a count of three and slowly return to the upright position.
These are just a few of the many exercises you can do in your office or at home. You don’t need expensive equipment to get fit. If there is a gym nearby, consider joining and workout during your lunch time a couple of times a week. Losing weight and getting in shape won’t happen overnight, but if you stick to a consistent routine you will see a difference sooner than you realize.