Posted by : Amanda Stein Friday, April 12, 2013

While sitting in a chair all day sounds like a totally risk-free activity, there is a real strain that comes from the combination of time and pressure applied to your body. Particularly if you use poor posture and don’t get adequate exercise and blood flow to your limbs.

The key with ergonomics in the office is reducing prolonged stress on the back, neck, joints, and body. By their nature, exercises often put strain on your muscles in order to make them stronger, which is a necessary though counterintuitive solution to pain caused from office work.

Nevertheless, a good office will try and provide means for their employees to work out in ways that will promote health and strength that protects from the risks of sitting in a chair.

Beyond choosing good chairs and promoting good posture and technique amongst the staff, which is essential, there are space-efficient tools that every office can have on hand to promote exercise.

To specifically target ergonomics, it’s important that an office workout station keeps in mind the following considerations.

Reduce stress and wear

Running and other cardio workouts are great strengthening the entire body, including the neck and back which are often fatigued by sitting in a chair all day.

It’s important to keeping the heart healthy and to lose weight, both of which are at risk if you fail to move around or eat properly at work. However, running on concrete or asphalt has it’s own problems and it isn’t always feasible for the office to facilitate.

Offices should consider obtaining cardio exercise machines that do not put as much wear on the body and can allow for a vigorous cardio workout in a small space such as an office might provide.

The classic treadmill is a good starting point, but the elliptical trainer and stationary bike are worth considering as well. For older workers or people with existing pain or injuries, the elliptical and cycling are designed to not produce any resistance to the leg’s motions during the workout. While the treadmill is more cushioned than a sidewalk, the elliptical and stationary bikes are softer still.

People with leg pain or injuries can use the bike or elliptical without exacerbating these issues.

Most essential for an office is the simple exercise mat. The difference between doing exercises on a hard floor or carpet and doing so on an exercise mat are considerable. If you get up from doing crunches or sit-ups and your neck is in pain how much have you accomplished?

Finally there’s the exercise ball, which reduces stress on the back and encourages proper procedure for doing core-building exercises.

All of these are easy to obtain and can fit in an office workout space easily. For a company with greater resources, there is no workout that can match swimming for strengthening the whole body without causing stress and wear. The free water offers resistance that increases strength. But, you won’t injure your limbs, joints, or muscles while in the water like you might with strenuous cardio workouts.

Strength building

The best ways to build strength that will help office workers avoid injuries are to strengthen the core and back muscles that are so frequently sore.

In lifting, balancing, and stabilizing the body during motion the core muscles are very important. Failing to build core strength makes it more likely that the rest of the body, particularly the back, will have to pick up the slack in ways that result in pain and injury. Building up back strength will make it less likely that those muscle groups are pulled or overused on the job.

The exercise ball, mentioned above, is one way to strengthen the core. You can also achieve these results with simple workouts like sit-ups, crunches, push-ups, and stretches on the exercise mat. For push-ups, there are also grips that can be easily acquired to put less strain on the wrist and help isolate muscle groups during the exercise.

To target the back, it may be advisable to obtain an exercise machine that allows you to safely do resistance workouts for the shoulders, back, arms, etc. A lateral pull-down machine will allow workers to strengthen the shoulders and back and as well as other machines often promote good posture.

While machines are safer than free weights, it’s important that employees are still taught proper procedure for doing the exercises safely and to get the most out of their usage.

If a machine is out of the question for an office space, free weights are cheaper and easier to acquire. In this event, it would be good to get a workout video or instructions that provide people with some exercises to target the back, core, or other typically pained muscle groups.

With more or less expensive investment, every office can be equipped with tools and instructions to help their workers mix in workouts that will prove functional in keeping them fit and healthy while performing their office functions.

Author Bio: IanB writes for where you can get gear to help you utilize boxing workouts.

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