When you spend long hours at a desk, standing in one spot or driving to and from locations, exercise seems like a pipe dream. You know it’ll make you feel more energised and increase your overall health, but how do you possibly fit it in? Incorporate three or more of the tips below in your work day and you’ll be well on your way.
Create a mini workout station at your desk
Invest in an exercise ball and swap it with your chair a few times a day.
With a bit of creativity, your office can set the stage for regular exercise. Invest in an exercise ball and swap it with your chair a few times a day. Sitting on it and balancing works core strength and improves posture. Set an alarm and stretch your arms, neck and back every half hour.
Body weight exercises like star-jumps, push-ups, sit-ups and squats don’t require equipment and increase muscle tone, while giving you a cardio workout. Do one set of each, every day, even if it’s in the staff kitchen while the kettle boils (and everyone laughs at you).
It’s amazing what a brisk walk to the car each day can do, to improve fitness.
Make small changes to your routine
Small changes to your routine to include more movement are easy, if you spread them over each day. For example, leave a little earlier and park your car a block or two away from work, so you have to fit in a brisk walk both ways, there and back.
Be mindful of time during the day, so you have a few extra seconds to take the stairs, instead of the elevator. Instead of having a coffee on one of your breaks, take a 10 minute quick walk outside – just doing so can burn 50 calories, or that cookie you ate last night.
Get everyone on board
Fitting in exercise is a whole lot easier when everyone’s on board, to stay motivated and on track. Are there other people in the office who might like to go for a quick jog during lunch? Do you have friends who play sports for a quick match after work? Could you go for a family walk after dinner each night, instead of switching on the TV? Before you know it, small changes like this amount to a significant increase in movement.
Similar to keeping a food diary, if you track your efforts towards more exercise each day, you can congratulate yourself, or at least get an idea of how much more you need to do. Aim for at least 30 minutes each day, no matter what, when or how you do it. This helps form a habit and gives you a bit of competition with yourself, for encouragement.
Change your mindset and exercise for enjoyment.
Change your mindset about exercise
Once you set the intention to fit more exercise into your day, you start feeling the results and it’s easy to stay motivated. However, to get started, change your mindset about exercise, so it’s something you actually like to do. For example, coming home at 6pm and going for a jog might not sound appealing to you, but how about a swim at the local pool, a fun dance class or a game of tennis?
Mix enjoyment with exercise and it’ll soon become a fun priority, rather than a ‘groan-worthy’ chore.
Nicole Leigh West
Nicole Leigh West is the author of fiction novel, 'The Gypsy Trail' and an internationally recognised travel and lifestyle writer.