Finding time to exercise can be a challenge for everyone. With busy work, school, and family schedules, finding time to work out can be tough. So why not squeeze in ways to work out at work? Here are some creative tips from the Mayo Clinic to find ways to get exercise in at the office from taking fitness breaks to walking meetings.
• Make the most of your commute - Walk or bike to work. If you ride the bus, get off a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way. If you drive to work, park at the far end of the parking lot.
• Look for opportunities to stand - You'll burn more calories standing than sitting. Stand while talking on the phone. Better yet, try a standing desk - or improvise with a high table or counter. Eat lunch standing up. Trade instant messaging and phone calls for walks to your co-workers desks or offices.
• Take fitness breaks - Rather than hanging out in the lounge with coffee or a snack, take a brisk walk or do some gentle stretching. Pull your chin toward your chest until you feel a stretch along the back of your neck, or slowly bring your shoulders up toward your ears.
• Trade your office chair for a fitness ball - A firmly inflated fitness or stability ball can make a good chair. You'll improve your balance and tone your core muscles while sitting at your desk. You can even use the fitness ball for wall squats or other exercises during the day.
• Keep fitness equipment in your work area - Store resistance bands - stretchy cords or tubes that offer weight-like resistance when you pull on them - or small hand weights in a desk drawer or cabinet. Do arm curls between meetings or tasks.
• Get social - Organize a lunchtime walking group. You might be surrounded by people who are ready to lace up their walking shoes - and hold each other accountable for regular exercise. Enjoy the camaraderie, and offer encouragement to one another when the going gets tough.
• Conduct meetings on the go - When it's practical, schedule walking meetings or brainstorming sessions. Do laps inside your building or, if the weather cooperates, take your walking meetings outdoors.
• Pick up the pace - If your job involves walking, do it faster. Keep your chin up and your shoulders slightly back - and remember to breathe freely while you walk.
• If you travel for work, plan ahead - If you're stuck in an airport waiting for a plane, grab your bags and take a brisk walk. Choose a hotel that has fitness facilities - such as treadmills, weight machines or a pool - or bring your equipment with you. Jump-ropes and resistance bands are easy to sneak into a suitcase. Of course, you can do jumping jacks, crunches and other simple exercises without any equipment at all.
Remember that anything is better than nothing. Make it fun and get others involved. You will feel better, refreshed, and have a more productive day with a little movement added in.
Corinna Maggy is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 605-3549. The information contained within Health Matters is not a substitute for professional medical examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician before starting an exercise program or beginning any nutritional regimen.