Workday Workout: Sneaking in Exercise at the Office

No time to train?

Maybe you’re not positioning it correctly.

Just because your schedule has become so hectic that there no longer seems room for the Soul Cycle class you’ve fallen in love with any more than once a week, it doesn’t mean you’ve got to leave it at a mere sixty minutes of moving per week, like the majority of the population are getting, if even that!

The U.S. government recommends adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or a combination of both and 80% of the US populations don’t get even that much![1]

Little bouts of activity all add up, both physically as well as emotionally.

In a new study, a research team had overweight participants wear accelerometers to measure how much random activity they did every day. Then they challenged the participants’ cardiorespiratory fitness with a treadmill test and spirometry, a test of lung function. The results showed that people who engaged in more activities in their daily routines had significantly better heart-lung function than people who did less[2].

In addition to those tried and true tips you’ve heard before, such as park “further away from the mall to have further to walk” and “take the stairs, not the elevator”, both of which are indeed good ideas, if you can begin to think a little bit further outside the box, you may be surprised at the benefits.

The first step is to give your workday calendar a good review and find out where you can clean it up a little. Does that weekly all-hands meeting really need to take two hours, or can you speak with your admin about streamlining the agenda in order to maximize efficient timing, thus enable you to carve out an extra thirty minutes for a walk? Can you shift anything around to open up a bit of downtime between meetings in order to get in some light exercise behind closed doors?

One client who worked in a high profile law firm would regularly shut her door two times per day for ten minutes to do a few rounds of push ups and planks. Sound crazy? Maybe so, but those two little breaks each day increased her circulation, made her get off her bum, helped her strengthen her back from all the sitting and when she began to see more definition in her abs, prompted her to clean up her diet.

If she was already seeing results just by adding the core work, imagine what might happen if she tuned into her diet, too!

The other thing to consider is that it doesn’t have to be a killer, sweaty workout to be worth something.

As an athlete, I’d no sooner suggest going for a run when you’ve got a total of 30 minutes to warm up, run, cool down and shower, than I would suggest not showering and heading into your next meeting!

However, going for a brisk walk can be enough to get you outside and moving without breaking a sweat.   And going for another one later can do the same again. And if you do this a few times a day, every day, you might find yourself tallying up ten miles you’ve walked.

Not an incredible feat, but not nothing either!

Other office friendly ways of getting in some motion include climbing the stairs, getting a standing desk rather than sitting and being still and slumped or using a stability ball in lieu of your Aeron Chair (yes, it’s a great chair, but it’s still a chair).

You can also try one of the made-to-fit-the office types of apparatus, such as the Office Gym.

            Get in the small pieces wherever you can fit them in, work to manage your schedule more efficiently and build workouts, spin classes, trail runs or whatever suits your fancy in and around your work.

            Your health and fitness has simply got to be a number one priority, not only for reasons which may be coming more from a vanity angle, which, by the way, we all have, but from that of performance.

We all want to perform and this is far from a sports specific-only reference.

We want to be the best at each and every thing we do, so performing professionally, as a parent or spouse and whatever other roles we might play.

Move. Eat properly. Perform.

[1] “CDC: 80 Percent of American Adults Don’t Get Recommended Exercise.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 28 July 2015

[2] “Random Acts of Exercise: Why Little Movements Can Have Big Benefits.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 28 July 2015