Fitness in the office

The trend toward exercise and wellness continues unabated – and I think it’s highly commendable. The saying “Sitting is the new smoking” fits this trend well – and is leading more and more companies to encourage their staff to do fitness and wellness exercises during working hours. There are numerous instructional videos on LinkedIn and YouTube, and at my company, one colleague took it upon herself to regularly provide us with new exercises “for in between.”

I thought that was a great idea – and I still do, but as with most things, it all depends on the right dosage. If I follow the wellness instructions – possibly after too short a night and on a rather quiet morning – “close your eyes, breathe deeply and think of nothing“, it can sometimes degenerate into an unscheduled nap in your home office, which is then brutally interrupted by the ringing of the phone.

Even the more ambitious exercises should be undertaken with due caution. Do you know “Superman Leg/Arm Raises”, for example? Not? Then imagine it something like this:

 When my colleague suggested this exercise for “in between”, I protested. I couldn’t help but remark that if I have to decend to the floor for fitness exercises during working hours, people should take into account that “at my age” it can take a little longer to re-surface. I prefer exercises with a sitting ball – it’s good for the pelvic floor and for balance, and occasional sliding off only has serious consequences on flagstones.

In addition to exercises from the gymnastics, stretching, yoga and fitness areas, there are also numerous instructions on how to set up your workspace ergonomically. This is mainly conveyed in the form of illuminating drawings we can hang on the office wall as a reminder. There are explanations of the angle at which the elbows should be aligned when typing, how the monitor should be positioned in relation to eye level, and so on. (It doesn’t hurt to check this once in a while).

Seriously, though, since the universal rapid retreat to the home office period at the beginning of the Corona pandemic, I’ve been trying out a lot of exercises – in the discreet solitude of my home – and I’ve noticed: Which exercises I do doesn’t matter that much, as long as in between I indulge my body with anything other than sitting tensely.

Every little thing helps – and if I manage to get through decades of sitting at a desk without back, shoulder and neck problems, that alone is reason enough to try the “Superman Leg/Arm Raises”. But I’d rather have a go at them after work. And that “in action” selfie my fitness colleague would like from all of us, will definitely not be coming from me.

Original text: BBR
English translation: BCO


Author: bbr

Hello, I am Beate Brinkman, the bbr.harlekin. I am editor and author for Harlekin.Blog e.V. and my “main job” is support coordinator in an international IT company. So far I have worked in German, Dutch, American and Indian companies and have acquired a great deal of experience of multicultural cooperation. I have been living in the Netherlands as a German for many years and have discovered that the cultural differences between Germans and Dutch alone could fill entire books. For professional and private reasons, I am particularly interested in multicultural (mis)understanding. Whether it’s about food, language, official conference calls or the organisation of funerals – when the cultures of several countries collide, things get lively. And that leads to sometimes unpleasant, often very funny, but always instructive situations.

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