How much exercise do you get between the hours of nine to five? If you often eat lunch at your desk while furiously trying to type up a document between bites, itâ??s time to break a few bad habits!

Corporate Wellness Week (1-5 July 2014) puts the spotlight on wellness in the workplace and the pitfalls of an â??all work and no playâ?? attitude in the office. Naazneen Khan, Wellness Manager at Nestlé, South Africa, says that changing your routine in a few simple ways can have a hugely beneficial impact on your energy levels at work and your ability to manage stress.

â??Weâ??re all guilty of thinking that we cannot afford to take time out of the day to go for a short walk, enjoy a cup of tea in the office garden or enjoy a lunch break away from our desks, but once you realise how much more creative and productive a refreshed mind is you might think twice about not wanting to leave your work station,â? says Khan.

How to get more exercise in the office

Here are some of Naazneenâ??s top tips to squeeze in some exercise at the workplace and let your increased serotonin levels absorb some of those little stresses that pop up in your inbox:

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1. Count steps

Taking about 10 000 steps a day (1 hour and 40 minutes) is enough to boost your energy and lower your risk of serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke. You could use a pedometer to count your steps and boost your progress by parking your car further away from the office, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and deliberately using the bathroom on another floor.

2. Sit tight

Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. This will strengthen your abs and back and you’ll work on your posture without even trying.

3. Get up every hour

Set an alarm to go off every hour to remind you to stand up and move around. Even if you just swing your arms or take a deep breath, you’ll feel more alert.

4. Look for ways to move more

Use the restroom on another floor and take the stairs. Deliver documents or messages to co-workers in person, rather than by email or phone.

5. Take active lunch breaks

Go for walk during your lunch break. You could walk to the mall or park your car far from the part of the mall you want to visit so that you have to walk a good length of the mall to get there.

Does your company encourage workplace wellness?

If not, here are some suggestions you and your colleagues can makeâ?¦

  • Chat to local gyms to provide membership discounts for employees

  • Organise office-wide yoga, Pilates, aerobics or cardio workouts

  • Encourage staff members to participate in weekend charity walks â?? this will instil a walking culture in your workplace in no time

  • Set up short walks during lunch whenever your deadlines allow for it. Before you know it youâ??ll have a few colleagues joining you for a quick power walking session

  • If your company has a small garden or outdoor area, set up outdoor meetings and brainstorm sessions and enjoy the benefits of fresh air and sunshine

â??Eating a healthy lunch full of the right nutrients goes a long way, and remember that adding short sessions of exercise throughout the day will help you burn more calories and also reduce stress,â? adds Khan.

For more helpful tips on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle, visit www.tastierhealthierchoices.co.za and test your knowledge about nutrition, health and wellness using the WelNes IQ tool at www.welnesiq.org.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.