If you have accepted the challenge of working for the first time as an intern, you may become one of the many employees who lead sedentary lifestyles. In fact, studies show that nearly two-thirds of all employees engage in day-to-day routines that are primarily sedentary. It's little surprise that people who work for hours on end at a desk without getting up to stretch and get their heart pumping face a higher risk of various illnesses – including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Even if you will only be taking on a few weeks’ internship at your chosen office, it's important that you learn how to battle sedentarism at work. With the following tips, you can achieve your aim and a healthy routine in the office.
Walk, Don’t Call
Offices are usually connected by internal phone systems but if you are in an office with a friendly, laid-back atmosphere (one in which visiting the offices of other junior members is considered acceptable), use your legs instead of the phone to ask questions or offer help. If you get up and approach colleagues whose desk is far from yours (or even located on another floor), you will shorten your overall sitting time. A study by researchers at the University of Jyvaskyla has found that spending just 20 minutes of less time sitting down is enough to boost your health and maintain muscle mass. By finding this amount of time to run or walk up and down steps each day, you'll be on the path to wellness while completing all of your intern tasks.
If you are studying while doing your internship or even working part-time in another office, finding time to make it to the gym for a daily workout can be difficult. Make it easy on yourself by shunning the ‘all or nothing’ mentality and simply doing what you can. Instead of taking the car, why not hop on a bus or train and get off a stop or two before your stop while commuting? For strength training, something as simple as a gymnastic ring for home use and a few free weights can ensure you get a decent workout daily. If you decide to buy gymnastic rings, wooden ones are nice and soft on the hands. Make sure that your purchase is certified as safe, so you can carry out a plethora of exercises with no fear of hurting yourself.
Taking Advantage of Work Fitness Incentives
In some countries, management will offer employees free gym memberships or other opportunities for exercise as a way to keep employees more productive, healthier, and happier. If you love sport, research which companies might have this type of incentive available and find out if you would be eligible as an intern. You can offer to work extra for a chance to attend the gym for free or take part in any classes offered at your office (yoga, mindfulness meditation, and Tai Chi are popular choices).
When aiming to reduce a sedentary lifestyle, the key is to find as many opportunities as you can to move instead of staying put at your desk. From walking to work to choosing a company that prioritses fitness, there are many ways to kickstart a fitness regime. Remember to get up from your desk frequently, setting half-hourly alarms if necessary to remind you to stretch, run up and down the steps, or simply visit a coworker for work-related matters. Finally, if there happens to be an unused standing desk at the office, ask if you can use it and alternate between sitting and standing if possible during your internship.