Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do to improve your overall health and quality of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity per week as well as muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups at least two days per week. Unfortunately, the reality is many of us do not get the recommended amount of physical activity. Why? The number one reason reported is that we just don’t have time.
Many of us spend 40 or more hours a week at work and have family commitments that can make it difficult to find the time to exercise. So why not exercise while you are at work? Below are some activities you can do to fit some exercise into your work day.
• If able, walk or bike to work. If you drive, park at the far end of the parking lot to get some extra steps into your day.
• Take the stairs versus the elevator whenever possible.
• Walk over to someone’s office instead of calling, texting or emailing them.
• Turn coffee breaks into fitness breaks. Take a brisk walk, or take this time to do some stretching.
• If practical, rather than sit and meet with someone, schedule a “walking” meeting. Problem-solve while doing laps in the hallways, or better yet, go for a walk and brainstorm outdoors if weather permits.
• If you sit at a desk, remind yourself to get up. Standing burns more calories than sitting. Stand or pace during a phone call, or stand while having a discussion with someone.
• Turn your office space into a mini-gym. Keep dumbbells or resistance bands under the desk and work those biceps while talking on the phone or in between meetings.
• Replace the office chair with an exercise ball. This can help to improve your balance and posture and tone abdominal or other or core muscles. The ball can also be utilized for wall squats or other exercises throughout the day.
• If you have exercise equipment at the office or work near a gym, exercise over your lunch break when possible.
• Organize a lunchtime walking group, and pick up the pace.
• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day, and avoid those tasty temptations in the vending machines.
Finding the time to exercise can be challenging, but with a little planning and creativity it can be done. Fitting exercise in at work can help to reduce stress, boost your mood and energy level and make you more productive. Plus, you will look and feel great!
(Sandy Tschosik is a registered nurse and has her Bachelors of Nursing from the University of Manitoba, Canada. She currently is the St. Alexius community health services coordinator. )