With each passing decade, fewer and fewer Americans have physically active jobs. Sedentary jobs have increased more than 80 percent since 1950, according to the American Heart Association. These tips from personal trainers, physicians, and award-winning athletes, including their favorite fitness products for the workplace, can help workers stay active when stuck in an office. "It's important to be intentional about creating healthy habits and routines at the office, because we spend such a significant amount of time at work," says Tyler Spraul, head trainer at Exercise.com.
Dr. Caroline Apovian, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center, notes that walking or biking to work instead of driving is an excellent way to counteract a sedentary job. It’s easier in some cities than others, but people lucky enough to have a short commute should consider seizing this opportunity.
The Versa 8 band ($8.39 to $10.39) is another conveniently small piece of equipment that can increase physical activity at work. Recommended by Lisa Snow, a New York-based certified personal trainer and president of On the Mend Customized Fitness and Massage, the bands are used to perform a variety of upper-body exercises. "This tiny and lightweight piece of equipment allows for an amazing range of arm, shoulder, and ab exercises," Snow says. "And they can easily fit in a desk drawer."
Sitting on an exercise ball rather than a stiff office chair keeps the core and legs activated throughout the day. Some companies even make balance-ball chairs specifically for desks, such as the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair ($80 on Amazon). Herbst suggests slowly integrating the ball chair into your daily routine if you're not used to it. "Otherwise you'll get sore and be subject to overuse injuries early on."