When I discuss the fitness regime with my patients, the most common excuse for not being physically active is that there is “no time to exercise”. The reasons for this ‘no time’ include a 9-hour desk job, time spent in hectic commuting, and other social commitments. Considering the fast-paced life that we lead today, these reasons hold true; but, we ought to invest some time in our health too!
Several types of research have proved that people who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. So tweaking your lifestyle habits a bit can actually be more rewarding than you think. Maybe taking out 40-45mins exclusively for exercise from your time daily can be difficult, but you can certainly get physically active in the office hours.
Here are some simple steps that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to stay active at a workplace.
#1. Give up on elevators and escalators
It is the least you can do, and it helps immensely toward your way to a healthy life. If you take staircase instead of escalators, you are only going to enhance your cardiovascular fitness. So skip lifts, starting today!
#2. Avoid intercom or chat boxes to steal some stride
Instead of discussing projects with colleagues via text, intercom, or e-mail, walk up to their desks and stand while you discuss. This can be a bit time consuming, but every step counts.
#3. Stretch it out
Relax your muscles from the stiffness that develops due to prolonged sitting hours. Body-friendly stretches can help you relax your shoulder, arms, hips, and back. Rotating your neck from one side to another, lifting your chin up and down – these simple exercises can be relaxing for your neck muscles.
#4. Utilize your break time suitably
Instead of utilizing your breaks to gossip with colleagues at a cafeteria, get outside your office premise to take a stroll or move around the block briskly to work up some sweat. However, if you plan to do so after the meal, make sure that you walk at a slow pace.
#5. Stand when you can
As “sitting is the new smoking”, look for opportunities that allow you to stand. If possible, stand while you take calls, or read your emails. Try conducting meetings in the boardroom with no chairs. Such meetings will be more productive as they are more likely to end on time or before, with an increased sense of alertness.
#6. Start a fitness challenge
You can create a group of like-minded people and start a fitness challenge for a month or a week. For example, drinking 3 liters of water in office hours, or having no fried or bakery products in snack time. Equipment-free fitness exercises such as one minute plank, standing toe-touching exercises, squat, etc., can also be easily done during work hours. When you commit to taking on a challenge with a group, as opposed to facing challenges alone, you are more motivated to see it through and complete it.
Besides these, keep a small water bottle which you would need to refill often. Also, use restrooms at locations other than your own floor. Remember, being active is beneficial both physically and mentally. So, stay active to stay fit!