Fit at work: tips for more exercise in the office
reading time: ca. 5 minutes
- Lack of activity causes many physical problems. Sitting at a desk for long periods of time triggers tensions and back pain.
- There are many sensible measures and exercises that can be carried out in the office with little effort. Just a few minutes per day are enough.
- Most important is the routine. If you do something every day, you will quickly notice positive effects. The more the change becomes a habit, the easier it is to stick to it.
- Before you start, you should set your own personal goal. When mentally connecting with the goal on a daily basis, ideally all senses should be used in order to stay motivated.
Stress, lack of activity, overwork: those who take too little care of themselves and their bodies quickly end up in a negative spiral of exhaustion and physical problems. Yet it's not that difficult to do something for your fitness at work. Our expert Krystian Kwasniewski provides tips on how even small habits can make a big difference – with the right goal and mindset.
It is no secret that sport and mindfulness are important for physical and mental health. Nevertheless, very few people manage to take enough time for themselves in their everyday lives with packed schedules, office jobs, and families.
To promote the health and fitness of their own employees, companies can support in various ways. However, everyone has the opportunity to support his or her own body. Small changes in everyday life and short exercises in between contribute greatly to well-being. Above all, consistency is the key.
Healthy and fit at work
Spending hours sitting in front of the computer is not good for our bodies. In the 2022 Fact Sheet "Physical activity", the WHO recommends more than 150 minutes of physical activity and muscle strengthening at a minimum of two days per week to stay healthy and fit.
...about the importance of fitness and exercise:
»Many people take health for granted - that's a myth. Up to a certain age it works, but with steady aging we realise that we have to do something for it. But why wait until it is too late, and the suffering is already high? Prevention is the solution.«
»Most of our everyday lives are automatisms, meaning actions and activities such as eating and drinking that are controlled unconsciously. That's why they don't cost us any energy. Everything that is new in our everyday life costs energy, we must be more concentrated and focused. Routine is important and leads to an improvement in performance: I can build on something that was there before. The feeling of success is ritualised.«
…about the goal as a coach:
»Basically, I do not aim to work through exercises, but to bring people back to their natural movements, which they have lost in the course of their lives. My goal is that people do something beyond the course. This has positive effects for body and mind: more productivity, effectiveness, and creativity.«
…about our fitness courses for OVB employees:
»My and my team’s job is not only to practise sport with the participants, but rather to support them in developing an individual health awareness for themselves. The courses create space for exchange. Fun and enjoyment come first, the sport almost becomes a by-product. This creates motivation and the participants experience self-efficacy.«
…about the mental attitude:
»Health starts in one's mind: When people lack motivation, inner blockages, challenges, and personal problems are often behind it. Every person is individual. It is important to know your own motivations and goals. This can be done, for example, through individual or group coaching, or a lot of self-reflection.«
Fit at work: Here's how
Changing one's life completely from one day to the next is something very few people manage to do. That is why it is important to think in small steps.
One thing is particularly important: consistency. If small changes become a routine, the first successes can be seen quickly. Good habits such as healthy eating during breaks and small meditations or mindfulness exercises increase your well-being.
This is not only good for the body, but also for the mind: physical fitness and health improve mental abilities. The results are higher concentration, productivity, and performance at work – which at the same time increases satisfaction with oneself and the job.
So, the path to better physical and mental fitness at work starts with yourself. But how do you make the transition from initial motivation to a long-term routine?
Tips for more sport in everyday working life
- Standing while working: A height-adjustable desk helps you to regularly work in a standing position. But even without the right equipment, the working day can be made more dynamic – for example, standing up when making phone calls or in meetings.
- Introducing activity breaks: Sitting for too long can be avoided by scheduling regular activity breaks. The lunch break in particular can be used sensibly. Here you can go for a walk, do some exercises, or even take part in small sports sessions. And: In between, make sure to use the stairs instead of the lift.
- Getting to work actively: Even the commute to work can often be designed more actively. Instead of coming by car, you might want to cycle or walk. When travelling by public transport, it helps to get off one or two stops earlier. And if you absolutely must use a car, you could park further away and walk the last bit.
- Using company sport: Many companies offer sports activities for their employees. Also, a break activity programme or an after-work run with colleagues can be easily organised. Together, the motivation is much greater.
This is how companies can support their employees
Even though the responsibility for one's own fitness lies with each individual, companies can help their employees with some actions.
These include, for example, the provision of ergonomic workstations and standing desks, the establishment of suitable sports activities, and the integration of health promotion measures into everyday working life.
Through education, a change in thinking can happen and thus an awareness for one's own health is created.
In the long run, this creates a win-win situation for both sides – because healthy and satisfied employees are the most important asset of any company.