Workouts and exercises suitable for the office
Written by Korben Konrady, Founder, BARR Wellness
Office environments around the world are taking on a new form. Executives and upper level managers are embracing their new-found wellness programmes and encouraging behaviours that may have seemed odd a few years ago. Companies are allowing employees more time at lunch to make workouts more convenient and in some cases allowing office workers to leave early to join teammates for a boot camp, outdoor hike or group exercise.
Nearly every exercise can be modified to perform at a desk or with the help of a chair, but remembering that offices are busy places, it is necessary to err on the side of caution and keep the heavy lifting outside the office. So, let us keep the water coolers, copiers and other office equipment in their places while we review some weight-free resistance exercises that nearly everyone can perform.
Rather than completing an hour long workout in the gym, these exercises can be done repeatedly throughout the day. In most cases you do not even need a designated area to work out, however be very aware of your surroundings when performing any routine.
A wall, desk or cabinet can be used as a bench for push-ups or tricep dips. To perform tricep dips start by facing away from desk with palms down behind your back to press down on the desk. Carefully, lower your body by dipping straight down then pressing back up to complete the motion. Every different angle you can press from will work the shoulders in a slightly different manner and will build strength.
Many varieties of squats and walking lunges achieve great results. Taking the stairs rather than the lift is always a great quick activity. However, for a real challenge, try the ‘wall sit’ by pressing your back against the wall and squatting down as if you were in an imaginary chair. Just a few moments in this position will prove to be a challenge. Start gradually with the goal of bringing your knees to a 90 degree angle and holding the position as long as possible.
Sit-ups and body planks work very well and you can perform any number of variations. To plank, lie on your stomach and then press your body up with your forearms or hands while keeping the back as straight as possible. Each side can be engaged by shifting from the plank to a one arm side plank. This movement may be difficult at first, but, planks are easy to modify by placing a knee on the ground. Stomach crunches are very simple and low-impact.
The simplest way of staying limber and preventing sporting injuries is by performing daily stretches. These can be done in the office, at home or even standing in line for groceries. They are essential for keeping your body loose and functional; even more essential if you are taking part in an exercise routine outside the office. Take 20 to 30 seconds with each stretch, start from the ground and move up one area at a time until you reach the top.
Ankles and feet
Roll your feet in circles, both directions and flex the feet by pointing toes downward and upward.
Stand with feet together and lean down to place your hands on your kneecaps. With legs squeezed together, roll the knees in small circles very slowly, alternating directions several times.
Stretch your hamstrings by leaning forward with flat back, and your quadriceps by reaching down to grab your ankle and pull it toward our buttocks. This is a great time to incorporate some lunges, squats or wall-sits.
The midsection is important because our core weakens and takes on worse posture the longer we sit passively. Begin with rolling the hips in circles as if you had a hula hoop around your waist. Then reach your hands overhead and take a deep stretch to each side. Perform this exercise up against a wall to keep good form.
Shoulders, neck and upper back
These areas are the source of discomfort for many of us that sit at a desk day after day. For shoulders, extend your arms straight out to the sides, make small circles with your hands both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Perform shoulder shrugs to keep your neck from tightening up and do so with slow and intentional movements. You can further help the upper back by doing slow overhead presses as if you were pushing your palms up toward the ceiling.
You have likely performed each of these at one point in your life but the challenge is to now make stretching part of your everyday routine. In most cases, after a few weeks you will find yourself stretching in public without hesitation because it does a body good and, hey, it just feels great!
ABOUT BARR WELLNESS
Based in San Diego, BARR Wellness designs, implements and manages a custom wellness programme for companies using a 'results based' approach as recommended by the Wellness Council of America. BARR also designs and manages on-site medical facilities for its corporate clients and its team of experts is available to work on a one-on-one basis or in group settings to bring health and wellness knowledge into the workplace.
The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone
While it is comforting to know that vaccines against COVID-19 are showing remarkable efficacy, the world still faces intractable challenges with vaccine distribution. Specifically, the sheer number of vaccines required and the complexity of global supply chains are sure to present problems we have neither experienced nor even imagined.
Current projections estimate that we could need 12-15 billion doses of vaccine, but the largest vaccine manufacturers produce less than half this volume in a year. To understand the scale of the problem, imagine stacking one billion pennies – you would have a stack that is 950 miles high. Now, think of that times ten. This is a massive problem that one nation can’t solve alone.
Even if we have a vaccine – can we make enough? Based on current projections, Pfizer expects to produce up to 1.3 billion doses this year. Moderna is working to expand its capacity to one billion units this year. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, is likely to produce 60% of the 3 billion doses committed by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi. This leaves us about 7 billion doses short.
Expanding vaccine production for most regions in the world is complicated and time-consuming. Unlike many traditional manufacturing operations that can expand relatively quickly and with limited regulation, pharmaceutical production must meet current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) guidelines. So, not only does it take time to transition from R&D to commercial manufacturing, but it could also take an additional six months to achieve CGMP certification.
The problem becomes even more complex when considering the co-products required. Glass vials and syringes are just two of the most essential co-products needed to produce a vaccine. Last year, before COVID-19, global demand for glass vials was 12 billion. Even if it is safe to dispense ten doses per vial, there is certain to be significant pressure on world supply of the materials needed to package and distribute a vaccine.
It is imperative drug manufacturers and their raw material suppliers have clear visibility of production plans and raw material availability if there is any hope of optimizing scarce resources and maximising production yield.
It is widely known by now that temperature is a critical factor for the COVID-19 vaccine. Even the regions with the most developed logistics infrastructures and resources needed to support a cold-chain network are sure to struggle with distribution.
For the United States alone, State and local health agencies have determined distribution costs will exceed $8.4 billion, including $3 billion for workforce recruitment and training; $1.2 billion for cold-chain, $1 billion vaccination sites and $0.5 billion IT upgrades.
The complexity of the problem increases further when considering countries such as India that do not have cold-chain logistics networks that meet vaccine requirements. Despite India’s network of 28,000 cold-chain units, none are capable of transporting vaccines below -25°Celsius. While India’s Serum Institute has licensed to manufacture AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which can reportedly be stored in standard refrigerated environments, even a regular vaccine cold chain poses major challenges.
Furthermore, security will undoubtedly become a significant concern that global authorities must address with a coordinated solution. According to the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, theft and counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products rose nearly 70% over the past five years. As with any valuable and scarce product, counterfeits will emerge. Suppliers and producers are actively working on innovative approaches to limit black-market interference. Corning, for example, is equipping vials with black-light verification to curb counterfeiting.
Clearly, this is a global problem that will require an unprecedented level of collaboration and coordination.
Disconnected information systems
While it is unreasonable to expect every country around the world will suddenly adopt a standard technology that would provide immediate, accurate and available information for everyone, it is not unreasonable to think that we can align on a standard taxonomy that can serve as a Rosetta Stone for collaboration.
A shared view of the situation (inventory, raw materials, delivery, defects) will provide every nation with the necessary information to make life-saving decisions, such as resource pooling, stock allocations and population coverage.
By allowing one central authority, such as the World Health Organization, to organize and align global leaders to a single collaboration standard, such as GS1, and a standard sharing protocol, such as DSCSA, then every supply chain participant will have the ability to predict, plan and execute in a way that maximises global health.
Political influence and social equality
As if we don’t have enough stress and churn in today’s geopolitical environment, we must now include the challenge of “vaccine nationalism.” While this might not appear to be a supply chain problem, per se, it is a critical challenge that will hinge on supply chain capabilities.
In response to the critical supply issues the world experienced with SARS-CoV-2, the World Health Organization, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) formed Covax: a coalition dedicated to equitable distribution of 2 billion doses of approved vaccines to its 172 member countries. Covax is currently facilitating a purchasing pool and has made commitments to buy massive quantities of approved vaccines when they become available.
However, several political powerhouse countries, such as the United States and Russia, are not participating. Instead, they are striking bilateral deals with drug manufacturers – essentially, competing with the rest of the world to secure a national supply. Allocating scarce resources is never easy, but when availability could mean the difference between life and death, it becomes almost impossible.
Global production, distribution and social equality present dependent yet conflicting realities that will demand global supply chains provide complete transparency and an immutable chain of custody imperative to vaccine distribution.
The technology is available today – we just need to use it. We have the ability to track every batch, pallet, box, vile and dose along the supply chain. We have the ability to know with absolute certainty that the vaccine is approved, where and when it was manufactured, how it was handled and whether it was compromised at any point in the supply chain. Modern blockchain technologies should be applied so that every nation, institution, regulator, doctor and patient can have confidence in knowing that they are making an impact in eradicating COVID-19.