Office Furniture or Gym?

Employers are finally recognizing that healthy employees are productive employees, so they’re taking action to help employees get fit while they work.

Many larger companies have gyms on site that employees can use throughout the day. Others include walking trails on campus so that on lunch breaks employees can trade their stilettos (or oxfords) for sneakers and get their heart rate up. Those without the means to offer a full gym or fancy trails might offer free or reduced-price gym memberships to employees as a perk.

Of course, if you’d rather not have your employees stretching their lunch breaks in order to take a Zumba class across town, you now have the option of equipping your office with furniture that doubles as gym equipment.

Recently designer Darryl Agawin, in an effort to fight the sedentary lifestyle associated with office life, created a simple three-piece set of office furniture that can be used to get a full-body workout. The line called No Sweat! was inspired by equipment you’d see at any gym ┬álike a balance board, weight bar, exercise step, kettle ball and jump rope. It can be used for hundreds of different types of exercises, Agawin says.

“No, Sweat! proves that one does not need fancy, modern gym equipment in order to have a full body workout,” he adds.

No sweat? More like no more excuses for not exercising at work throughout the day.

Of course, Agawin isn’t the first person who’s found ways to help fight the office bulge.

Other pieces of furniture that straddle the line between workout gear and office furniture include:

Treadmill desks: Basically a treadmill combined with a standing desk, employees walk on a treadmill at a very, very slow rate (less than 1 mile per hour) while they work and can burn an extra 100 calories an hour.

Cycling desks: Similar to the treadmill desk, but with a stationary bike. Employees pedal a recumbent bike while seated at a desk that is raised to accommodate the bike so they’re burning calories and building muscle. Some reviewers complain that pedaling while working is a challenge, but it’s a better alternative to sitting still for an entire shift.

Stability balls: An affordable alternative to treadmill or cycling desks, studies have shown that sitting on a stability ball at work burns 4.1 times as many calories as sitting on a regular desk chair and it helps strengthen core and leg muscles.

If you don’t have any extra cash to invest in double-duty office furniture, remember that you don’t need anything fancy to get in shape at work. In fact, there are several things you can do right from a simple chair.

Check out this 11-minute Chair Cardio Workout from SparkPeople or this chair workout featured on Dr. Oz. All you need is a sturdy chair that doesn’t have wheels or arm rests: ┬áLike this one from Arnolds:

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Research has shown that short bursts of activity that add up to 30 minutes each day can be just as useful as one continuous 30-minute workout for preventing high blood pressure and high cholesterol and preventing metabolic syndrome, according to the Mother Nature Network. Remember that something as simple as taking the stairs or walking around while you’re talking on the phone is better than doing nothing.

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