Photo by Zombieite
May 19, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)
We all lead busy lives and it’s sometimes hard to get into a steady routine of exercise, yet alone find time to join a gym. The good news is you can incorporate some exercise into your work day. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week and some muscle strengthening exercise at least two days per week. So, the trick is how to squeeze this activity into your busy schedule, especially when you work an 8 or 9 hour work day. Well, we might have just the solution you’re looking for.
Cardio – Get up and move!
Well, let’s cover the cardio first. You don’t need to get all of your week’s cardio at once. The suggested 150 minutes can be broken up into blocks throughout your day and week. To get some extra steps in, don’t choose the parking spot closest to the office door. Leave your house a few minutes early and park in the back of the parking lot. Another way to get this accomplished is, if you get an hour lunch, you could spend 30 minutes of it taking a walk. Walking is one of the best activities you can do. It’s low impact and, if you walk at a brisk pace, you can raise your heart rate. If you walk at a speed of about four miles per hour, it will take you about 15 minutes to walk a mile. So, you could get a quick two mile walk into your work day, during 30 minutes of your lunch hour. Another great way to get more cardio is using the stairs. If your office has stairs, you could go up and down a few times a day. This can really get your heart rate up and is an excellent choice for cardio. Another option is when you take a short break, stand up and march in place or go for a quick walk down the hall or outside instead of standing still. A fun thing you can do to keep you motivated to move more, is to wear a pedometer or activity tracker. There are all sorts of cool devices out there today that you can wear or stick in your pocket, that track your steps taken, calories burned, fat grams burned and more.
Strength Training – No Gym Required!
Now, what about this strength training? How do you squeeze that into your day? Well, the good news is you don’t need to have a set of dumbbells on your desk. Actually, there are great resistance exercises you can do by incorporating nothing but your own body weight and items in your office, like your desk. These exercises will strengthen and tone your muscles. You can get your office-mates to join in and make it a daily fun activity.
Try doing calf raises. They’re easy and great for toning and strengthening your calf muscles. Simply, stand up, place your hands on the back of your chair to steady yourself and raise up on the balls of your feet. Repeat this 10 times. To strengthen your quadriceps, try the chair pose. Stand against the wall with your legs spread about a foot apart and your feet about a foot from the wall and slowly slide down the wall to simulate sitting in an invisible chair, then slide back up. Do 10 of these. As a bonus, try staying in the seated position for a few minutes for a real “burn.”
Try desk push-ups. At a 45 degree angle, lean against your desk and do a normal push-up. You could also do wall push-ups. Another exercise that utilizes your desk, is desk dips. These will tone up your triceps. Turn away from your desk so your back is facing the desk, take a step forward, grab the edge of your desk and do a dip, bending your elbows. Repeat 10 times.
These are just a few great resistance, strength training exercises that you can add into your work day. There are many more exercises you can read about online, in books on resistance training or learn about in videos online. You can also pick up a set of inexpensive resistance bands for more variety too. These can be kept in your desk drawer and used in a number of fun, easy exercises at work.
Remember, before starting any new exercise routine, it’s wise to consult your doctor first.