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How to keep healthy while running your business

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Finding time for you – and your staff – to fit in physical activity is vital but can be tricky.

Tracey Griffen outlines a few exercises that can be done from the comfort of the office
Being a business owner puts a lot of demands on your body. As a personal trainer who has run a fitness business for 12 years, I see running a business in the same way as running an endurance race. 

You need to pace yourself, stay healthy and minimise sick and non-productive days. You may think you don’t have the time to fit in a fitness programme, but really you can’t afford not to stay fit and well. If you’re very busy this may seem difficult, until you consider doing some errands on foot or by bike. Stand up and move your body regularly. 


One of the best things you can do as a business owner is to encourage your staff – and yourself – to get outside for a walk at lunch instead of remaining deskbound. 
Some office environments are better than others for helping keep employees fit and healthy.

I have trained numerous clients who tell me they feel like they are not allowed to escape the office at lunch. Don’t let your workplace be one of these. Exercise time is good thinking time and staff will come back refreshed and ready for the second half of the day.

A Fitbit or something similar will track movement through the day to ensure you’re maintaining fitness. You can even run work competitions to see who does the most steps.


It is up to you as a business owner to embrace exercise as part of a busy working life.You’ll find yourself more productive, and with less absenteeism from your staff. You may even find it reduces stress levels and your waistline, while improving your business bottom line and productivity. 

Here are some basic exercises you can try next time you’re deskbound. Many people might feel self-conscious doing these exercises. However, getting the whole office involved can encourage shy individuals. You can also make regularly moving part of your office culture. 

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Chest stretch

If you spend time typing on a computer while sitting at a desk, you need to regularly stretch your chest and back. An easy way to do this is to place your palms either on your lower back, or if you’re seated, on the back of your desk chair. Do this every hour you are seated.

Stand up

If you can, try working at your desk standing up. Standing desks are becoming commonplace and coming down in price. Standing up can help reduce your chance of heart disease, it burns more calories and will also give you a nicer-shaped derriere. 


If you work from home, try using your laptop on the kitchen counter. It’s usually a good height for standing up. Once you’re standing up, you’re more likely to want to do the other exercises.

Next, I look at basic body-weight exercises that will help energise you as you work. Wearing flat shoes is advisable for the leg exercises.

Buns of steel

A favourite exercise that does what it says on the tin. Standing on one leg, kick back with the other leg, squeezing your behind. It’s a good exercise for when you’re waiting for something to happen.

One lady I train does this when she’s photocopying and has seen a drop of two inches from her hips. Try 10-20 repetitions on each leg.

Calf raise

A favourite with bobbies on the beat. Standing normally, push up through the balls of the feet and raise yourself on to your tiptoes. This strengthens the back of your lower leg and ankles too.  Try 10 repetitions.

Squat

A classic functional exercise that is basically a sit-to-stand. Start standing tall with feet hip-width and lower your rear end down as if you are about to sit in a chair. Aim to get your thighs parallel to the ground with your weight pushing into your heels – so they do not lift. Return to stand. Try 10 repetitions.


Tummy in

If you’ve ever done a ‘plank’ exercise at a fitness class, you’ll know the feeling of pulling your abdominals in. Just sucking in your tummy from time to time during the day can improve your waistline and reduce lower back pain. 

Set an email reminder every hour to do a posture check at your desk, and ideally get up and have a stretch and move about.