woman with head in hands looking stressed

Don't Stress! Stretch, Walk and Sit Up Straight

Turn moments of stress at work into healthful exercise breaks. When you encounter these common workplace conundrums, turn them into a reminder to sneak more movement into your office job. 

Every time you need to talk to a coworker, they're not at their desk

Track them down with a brisk walk around your workplace. The well-documented benefits of walking boost your health and fuel your creativity. Extra points if you're able to fit some stairs into your movement. Even at a slow pace, you'll burn calories two to three times faster climbing stairs than walking in your office's level hallways. 

When a forgotten deadline rears its ugly head

Face the challenge head-on. But first, stretch with easy and unobtrusive shoulder rolls and neck tilts. Carefully tilt your head to one shoulder and hold for 10-12 seconds, then switch sides. To stretch your shoulders, sit upright and lift your shoulders to your ears with an inhale. Exhale and release, then repeat a few more times to relieve tension in the upper back and shoulders. 

A full day of back-to-back meetings

How is that back, anyway? Do a quick check of your posture and seating angles before your next meeting starts. Is that conference room chair adjusted to your frame? Are you sitting up straight? Are you rounding your shoulders or engaging your abdominal muscles to hold yourself up?

Waiting on approval for your vacation request

Be ready to shake on it! Practice with this bicep-strengthening move. While sitting with your feet flat on the floor, grasp your hands together. Then, try to pull your hands apart for 10 seconds before releasing and repeating. Cubicle-approved.

You've been assigned to manage a difficult project

Congratulations, you're in the big chair now. Make power moves with a strong core. While seated, draw your knees up to your chin one at a time. Make sure you're using your abdominals to pull them in to get the most out of the movement. When you strengthen your core, you're also adding power to most of the other movements you make. 

Bonus:

Here is my all-time favorite article on this topic. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/health/workout-at-work/

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photo of Maria Haynie