Tips for Exercising in the Office and Avoiding Injury

Written by on May 1, 2013 in Career - No comments | Print this page

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man hunched over at deskIf you spend the day hunched over a keyboard or a pile of legal books, your body is likely paying the price.

Lower back injuries, neck strain, stressed-out muscles in the shoulder, wrist irritation, and more, all plague attorneys and others who work long, difficult hours in the office.

And then there’s the weight gain; the need for fast, easy meals on the go, emotional eating late at night when morale is at its lowest and having a client-subsidized dinner allowance—the list goes on. There are many forces that contribute to add pounds to office workers.

Battling these things requires a multi-faceted strategy. Our tips below include a few pieces of the wellness puzzle that can give your body a fighting chance when you’re struggling to stay healthy and comfortable through extended “office hours.”

1.     The Elevator is Your Enemy

All right, when you’re running late and have to travel 25 floors, it’s a handy way to get around. But when you only have a few floors to go, take the internal stairs instead (if your building has them).

They’re faster than waiting for the elevator, and you need a chance to get some exercise in.  Stairs are excellent for burning calories and increasing blood flow.  And if your office is cold, hitting the stairs is a great way to generate some internal heat.

But take it easy – showing up sweaty for meetings is a bad idea.

2.     Hunt for Food

If you can spare the time, walk somewhere to grab lunch instead of getting the closest possible meal. Again, the goals are movement, calorie burn, and getting your blood flowing, so that important muscles and areas of your body get fresh nutrients.

3.     Your Back Needs to Move

Holding a position for an extended period of time, especially a poor postural position, is not good for your back. If you’re focused on drafting a document, or deep into some legal research, you might forget to move for long periods of time.

This can be quite damaging to your back, which needs to be moved to stay healthy. The first thing you can do to counteract this damage is to sit properly.

The second thing you can do is to set a timer and stand up and stretch when it goes off. You can also benefit from a list of office stretching exercises and how to perform them properly.

4.     In-Office Workouts

When you get a clear chunk of time, an in-office mini workout is a great substitute for browsing the Internet. Better yet, schedule a small window of time each day to do some bodyweight exercises in your office or outside your building, if you have an appropriate space.

These shouldn’t be too intense, and can be broken up into mini-sessions throughout the day. Good exercises include pushups, dips, squats, crunches, and other exercises that only require a human body to perform.

It may seem like your mind is your most important tool at work, but if you don’t pay attention to your body, you’re in for increased pain, discomfort, and illness.  Respect your body, and it will serve you well for years to come.

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s online LL.M. Degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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