Simple ways to squeeze in fitness at work
Most experts agree that for good health, adults should strive for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise nearly every day, and more if you are overweight.
What if you’re stuck behind a desk all day? Unfortunately for many people, the workplace reinforces a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for hours on end noticeably increases sluggishness and fatigue, hardly inspiring a trip to the gym.
Lack of activity also tends to increase calorie consumption throughout the day — think of the candy dish, vending machines, office parties and the fast food lunches that are a normal part of most work environments.
Here are some tips for boosting your activity level in the workplace:
Get up and stretch.
Strengthen leg muscles by doing a few simple squats, getting up from your chair and sitting down again without using the armrests. To strengthen the midsection, sitting toward the front of your chair, lean back, keeping both feet on the floor until you feel your abs tighten, pause for a few seconds and return to an upright position.
To strengthen the upper body, hold onto the armrests of your chair and try pushing yourself up with little to no use of your legs. Push-ups can be performed standing, using a wall, desk or other sturdy surface.
Put it in a little legwork.
For working the back of the thighs, sit toward the very front of the chair and one leg at a time, bring the lower leg backward until you feel the muscles tighten, as if trying to touch the heel to the rear end. Hold for a count of 10 seconds and repeat, aiming for 10 repetitions per leg. Then, with feet side by side and a right angle at the knees, raise the heels from the floor until you feel the calf muscles contracting, and hold for a count of 5, and repeat.
Take a stroll.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to speed the metabolism and burn extra calories. When at work, use break times to get out and take mini-walks. Three 10-minute walks during the day are manageable for most people, even with demanding schedules. For a 155-pound person, 30 minutes of brisk walking burns an average of 150 calories.
If you are already a walker, try not to get stuck doing the same route, same number of minutes, same pace or same number of days per week. The body adjusts quickly to walking because it is a natural activity. In order to increase fitness, strength and relieve potential boredom, try taking a different route next time you head out, or increase duration, speed or frequency.
Take the stairs every chance you get.
We all know that taking the stairs instead of using an escalator or elevator increases calorie expenditure, but you can also get nearly twice the calorie burn by taking steps two at a time as you climb instead of single steps.
Bring a calendar to work, and position it so that it is visible from your desk. Make a quick note each day that you have been successful at being more active. On days when you are unable to adhere to your plan, make a note of why, and then honestly assess whether it is a valid reason or an excuse.
– Marjie Gilliam / Cox Newspapers