The US Department of Health and Services recently released an article on the benefits of exercise for improving your health while you’re at work. They list eight steps you can take that could improve your physical fitness, your health and wellness, and possibly even increase your work productivity.
- Use the stairs instead of elevators. If you have to go up several floors in your building during the day, you might as well exercise while doing it.
- Park toward the back of the parking lot and walk into and out of work. Don’t circle the lot for minutes looking for a spot close to the front door. Park at the back of the lot and walk to the entrance. That extra 100 yards adds up if done every day.
- Join a walking club or fitness class with your colleagues.Running, walking, yoga, aerobics, and other forms of exercise with others will improve collegiality among coworkers. Meeting to do it together will provide motivation by making it less likely that you will skip the exercise sessions.
- Replace your office chair with a stability ball. It is not exercise, per se, but you can improve your core strength by using a balance ball as your office desk chair.
- Wear running shoes to work. Wear your dress shoes only when necessary. Not only will the running shoes help with walking longer distances from the parking lot or during breaks at the office, but they will also serve as a reminder to use them if you see them throughout the day.
- Break up exercise into small periods during breaks. While 30-60 minutes of walking is ideal, several 10-15 minute sessions can be effective as well. Look for breaks in your schedule and use them to perform some of your fitness activities.
- Keep some dumbbells or resistance bands at your desk.Similar to walking, weights and other forms of resistance training require little space or preparation time. A few exercises in each small break can add up to a complete workout.
- Replace email and the phone as a means of communication. Rather than pushing emails back and forth to coworkers, get up and walk to their desks. Talk in person. You might be surprised that you actually accomplish more in less time, and you will burn a few calories each time too!
Tip number 2 is one thing I like to point out to people who say they can’t walk to their local convenience store or post office. I like to point out the distance they walk when they park at the back of a typical Wal-Mart or mall parking lot and how much ground they cover walking as compared to if they had just left their house. You’d be surprised how far you can get in your neighborhood just walking the same distance you would walk after first driving somewhere to park.