6 Tips How To Fit in Daily Exercise
Increasing Activity Levels at Work or While Working from Home
Getting back to work after a holiday typically means paying the price for taking a few days off. Workloads are heavier and time is limited. There may also be a bit of residual sluggishness from overindulgence during the holidays. Taking a break to exercise may get pushed aside. However, there are a few clever hacks to incorporate during your workday to get your body moving, and a few other tips to meet the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
Exercise is not only important for how you look and feel, one in two Americans don’t get enough physical activity in a day, leading to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
1. Don’t Think of it as Exercise
Dispel the idea that exercise only counts if you are in the gym, taking a class or otherwise “working out.” If you have online meetings where you don’t need to have your camera on, you can do some arm and leg stretches, neck rolls or even work with hand weights while still actively listening. See this list of exercises to do at your desk for some ideas.
Think outside the box for ideas that work for you. I put a kettlebell in my bathroom and work in a few strength lifts while getting ready in the morning. Just seeing the weight reminds me to pick it up.
If you don’t have free weights at home, use a couple of cans or water bottles instead. You can put varying amounts of water in a jug to increase the weight. In an office building, run up and down the stairs. It’s a great way to instantly raise your heart rate while toning glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and abs.
2. Improve Your Commute
If taking public transportation to work, get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way. Many areas are improving bike lanes to make two-wheeled transportation safer. Even electric bikes provide a healthy dose of aerobic exercise, while making hill-climbs easier and avoiding a sweat build up on the way to work.
Working from home, consider walking or riding just before the start and at the end of your workday. This signifies leaving home, making a virtual commute, and mentally preparing for work. At the end of the day, your simulated commute helps you let go of work and prepare to relax at home.
3. Don’t Let Winter Be an Excuse
Even in freezing weather, there are opportunities to be active and have fun. Indoor shopping malls provide a flat, climate-controlled space where you can take a work break and walk for great stretches. There are interesting things to look at, plus there is access to a bathroom and drinking fountain.
Local YMCA facilities typically have indoor sports resources at an affordable price. You can slip in for a quick racketball session or shoot a few hoops on your own whenever you find a few minutes.
4. Go Out to Lunch
Getting away from home or the office puts your body in motion. And going out during lunch time does not mean dining out every day or going through a drive through. Stop at a park to enjoy your brown bag lunch. Even in frigid weather, getting out and doing a few pre-meal jumping jacks can be invigorating, especially when there is a warm car or building to go back into! In nicer weather, walk to the closest park and have a picnic with yourself, or walk to a coffee vendor instead of staying in the office. When you feel ready, add some arm exercises while walking to improve the overall benefit.
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5. Incorporate Some Accountability
Ask a friend or co-worker to join you on your daily activity break from work. Not only is this more fun, but it helps you make a commitment. You might also choose to work with a personal trainer, either at a facility or find one online. Either way, it’s great to have someone else in your corner.
My Dr. suggested a fitness tracker, which I resisted for quite a while. After finally getting one, it showed my activity level was lower than expected. My heart rate targets were not being met just by walking the dog twice a day. A fitness tracker will give you some honest feedback as you build up your daily activity, and help you re-think exercise plans.
6. Appreciate Your Efforts
Simply getting up from your chair or out of the office is the first step in a more active life. However, if you stay inside during a break, don’t stress about it. Consistency is important, but you don’t have to complete all the targeted 30 minutes a day in one stretch. If you are tired or short on time, aim for a few smaller increments.
Each day is a new opportunity to be active and enjoy getting moving in 2023, whether you are going into an office or working from home.