The Importance of Exercise at Work for a Productive Day
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the average American adult should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise and two days of strength training per week. These precious minutes of movement are crucial to gain health benefits associated with a healthier lifestyle. Although 150 minutes may sound overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be done at once. For example, adults can split their exercise goals into more manageable chunks of 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Regardless of how much exercise we get, small bursts of physical activity are better than none. It is generally agreed that adults should sit less and move more, but how realistic is this in today’s modern world?
Deadlines, an overflowing workload, and family commitments are some reasons we may reschedule our workout plans for another day. Those with a love-hate relationship toward exercise may feel like physical activity is a chore, and it can be difficult to juggle a heavy workload and adequate movement. In fact, recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that only 24.2% of US adults regularly achieve the recommended amount of weekly physical activity.
How does exercise improve physical health?
There are many benefits of working out. The first and perhaps most obvious benefit is that exercise can help us lose excess pounds and maintain a healthy weight. Healthy eating and physical activity play a vital role in our overall well-being. To lose weight, we should burn off more calories than we consume through food and drinks, but getting enough exercise can be tricky, especially in the workplace. 20% of participants in a recent survey admitted they take lunch breaks at their desks, whereas 1 in 10 said they never take breaks away from their desks at all.
1) Boosts heart health
As the main organ of our cardiovascular system, the human heart works hard to pump blood around our bodies. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans regardless of gender, ethnicity, or racial group. In fact, one in every five deaths is caused by heart disease. Lifestyle choices like smoking, excessive alcohol use, and physical inactivity are key risk factors for heart disease. However, just 150 minutes per week of regular moderate exercise lowers the risk of heart disease, regulates blood pressure, and improves cholesterol levels.
2) Strengthens bones and muscles
Our bones and muscles are crucial in helping us complete even the simplest tasks. Without them, our bodies would not have the support required to complete daily activities, so we should try to maintain them. Strength exercises such as yoga or lifting weights can increase our muscle mass and make us stronger, which is increasingly important as we age. We begin losing muscle mass after just one week of physical inactivity, and lose as much as 11% after ten days, even if we are still mobile.
How do sedentary jobs affect the body?
The benefits of working out are clear, but what happens when we stop? Sitting for extended periods — like behind a computer at work — can lead to obesity, heightened blood pressure, excess blood sugar, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. In fact, sitting for over eight hours a day, coupled with physical inactivity, poses a similar health risk as obesity and smoking. But how can we get enough exercise at work?
How to exercise at work
Yoga, running, swimming — we can all name different types of exercise to do in our spare time. But what about ways to exercise at work? Inactivity due to working long hours in a desk job may be because people do not know how to exercise at work.
For those that want to stay fit and achieve ultimate productivity, here are some exercises to do at work.
- If there is a gym nearby, perhaps there is time to squeeze in a short workout during lunch breaks. Otherwise, taking a brisk walk during lunch is a great way to discover the surrounding area while burning calories.
- Simple movements like tricep stretches, shoulder shrugs, or gentle neck stretches between taking calls or sending emails can loosen stiff arm or neck muscles. In fact, taking short breaks to stretch can decrease the risk of desk-related injuries by 76%.
- Ditch the office chair and sit on an exercise ball instead. This helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles and eradicate tightness in the neck and shoulders.
How does the Acer eKinekt Bike Desk help us workout at work?
The newly unveiled eKinekt Bike Desk from Acer combines a practical work desk with an innovative stationary bike, letting users exercise as they work. Pedaling the bike creates kinetic energy that powers the machine and charges devices. The bike is fully adjustable, allowing users to alter the resistance and seat height to their own preference for ultimate productivity in the workplace or at home.
One hour of non-stop cycling at 60 RPM produces 75 watts of self-generated power, which charges laptops and other devices through three USB ports. Setting the bike to Working Mode during work hours moves the desk closer to the chair, allowing users to sit upright while typing and cycling. When set to Sports Mode, the desk moves forward, encouraging users to lean forwards as if they were on a standard bike or trainer. This lets users utilize downtime efficiently while generating real-time data to track on the bike’s user-friendly app.
Benefits of working out at work
With 80% of Americans working in sedentary or office jobs, and our love for playing computer games or watching TV, we are facing an inactivity crisis. In fact, we spend a worrying amount — around 90,000 hours — of our entire lives sitting down. Here are some benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle even during working hours.
1) Relieves poor posture and reduces desk-related injuries
Good posture means our ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles are in alignment. This allows our blood to flow more easily around our bodies, supports our muscles, and keeps our nerves and blood vessels healthy. Moreover, computer users should ensure that screens are adjusted so that they can see them comfortably and without straining their necks. Feet should be placed firmly on the ground or supported by a footrest, and office chairs should adequately support the lower back to prevent injury.
Furthermore, long-term use of a keyboard and mouse can lead to repetitive strain injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome. Computer users should avoid resting their wrists on the edge of a computer or table and use a foam keyboard and mouse pad with a wrist rest instead.
2) Improves productivity and brain function
Enhanced productivity may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of exercise in the workplace, but studies show that participants noticed a 72% improvement in time management. Managing our time efficiently helps to improve mental abilities like productivity and concentration while enhancing creativity, and exercise while working lets us think more clearly and make better decisions.
3) Relieves stress
Stress causes the body more harm than good. Heightened stress levels make it difficult to focus, think clearly, and make logical decisions. Stress can cause workers to reach for the cookie jar or pick up unhealthy habits like smoking or excessive drinking. Exercise reduces cortisol levels and releases feel-good endorphins that help us feel relaxed, and is the perfect way to combat workplace stress.
4) Boosts energy
Whether it hits us first thing in the morning or mid-afternoon, low energy and fatigue can wreak havoc on our workplace productivity. Introducing exercise into our working lives can help to alleviate brain fog and avoid the dreaded afternoon slump. In fact, each time we exercise, our bodies recover and our energy levels increase.
Regardless of whether we want to reduce cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, or lose a few pounds, there are many reasons to work out. Enhancing our exercise levels improves memory and learning, boosts concentration, and gives us more energy, which benefits us in the workplace. Exercising at work may have once seemed unattainable, but there are ways to stay active while working. Technology like the eKinekt Bike Desk accommodates our increasingly inactive lifestyles and uses innovative ways like using kinetic energy to power devices and keep us motivated. Contact your nearest Acer office or visit www.acer.com for more information about the eKinekt Bike Desk.
Jeni is a translator and writer based in Taiwan. She is passionate about business development and loves helping companies enter international markets. She is fluent in English, German, and Mandarin Chinese, and combines these with her industry experience to provide practical market entry solutions.