Benefits of regular physical activity
If you are regularly physically active, you may:
- Reduce your risk of a heart attack
- Manage your weight better
- Have a lower blood cholesterol level
- Lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers
- Have lower blood pressure
- Have stronger bones, muscles and joints and lower risk of developing osteoporosis
- Lower your risk of falls
- Recover better from periods of hospitalization or bed rest
- Feel better – with more energy, a better mood, feel more relaxed and sleep better.
Having a busy schedule can mean neglecting important duties to keep your body functioning properly. Work meetings, balancing school, friend dates — your agenda is packed enough as it is. How are you supposed to fit exercise into your busy schedule along with everything else, too? According to the Department of Health, you might be in trouble if you don’t find the time. You should aim for 30 to 40 minutes of moderate activity each day to stay fit and healthy which adds up to almost 300 minutes of exercise per week. Here are a few sneaky ways to fit exercise into your busy schedule — without sacrificing time with your loved ones.
- Use your commute
Live a few miles away from the office? Consider running or biking into work a few times per week. Not only will you burn more calories, but the extra movement could help you be more productive and focused once you start your day, too. Just remember to keep clean clothes in the office, so you don’t show up sweaty to your 10am staff meeting. You can do this two times a week to properly get the right amount of exercise in.
- Take exercise breaks in the office
If you have the benefit of a full office, here’s one way to fit exercise into your busy schedule: consider closing the door once or twice per day to get in a quick bodyweight workout. Working at a standing desk, taking regular stretch breaks, and getting up to walk around between assignments are also good habits to adopt. You’ll stay more alert in the office, and start to undo the negative effects of sitting all day.
Here are some ways to exercise in the office:
Unplug the Coffee Pot
Coffee is a wonderful office prop—it helps us face the morning, and provides an excuse to take a midday break. But let’s be honest: it stops perking us up after a few cups. Yet it never stops causing muscle tension, anxiety, and irritability. It would be sacrilege for me to advocate a coffee-less office existence; but forgoing it altogether would benefit your body in a plethora of ways. After you’ve had one cup, try switching to decaf, sipping green tea (and reap its fat-blasting benefits), or leaning on natural energy boosters. Once you curb caffeine, you may never need a massage again.
Put Your Glutes to Work
There’s a theory that sitting for hours will cause our bums to flatten and hips to spread. Not sure if this has been scientifically proven, but most of us desk-bound women would probably testify to its truth. Use focused glute exercises to keep your beautiful backside in shape. Another great perk of working your glutes: because they’re part of your “core” muscles, strong glutes will give you better posture at your desk.
Pack Your (Lunch) Bags
It’s no secret that eating breakfast will help you lose weight, but make sure it’s a healthy breakfast. To energize your day, steer clear of the drive-thru on your way to work. It takes just a few minutes to pack a lunch box with fresh breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
Stay Sane Through the Night Shift
Whether you’re a nurse, bartender, law enforcement officer, or one of the many other working class citizens who work atypical shifts, you probably find that it’s tough to stick with your fitness regimen. But there’s hope for swing-shift and night-shift workers: work lodging exercise into your schedule, getting healthy meals at midnight, and securing your beauty sleep even when the sun has come up.
Fire Your Office Chair
Ever realize you’ve been hunched at your desk for hours, neck craned forward as you peer into your computer? Do you spend an entire commute slumped over the steering wheel with one elbow cocked up on the armrest? Add your laptop bag or briefcase to the mix and you have a recipe for postural disaster. When you get tired of looking like the office vulture, get to work on strengthening your core. Not only will strong glutes keep you upright effortlessly, but strong back and abdominal muscles—also part of your core—will help you carry heavy loads with balance. The great thing is you can work your core at work: just trade your office chair for a balance ball. Not keen on rolling a ball into work? Keep one in your home office or in front of the TV. Sitting on an exercise ball, your body is constantly making small adjustments with the postural muscles, abdominals, gluteal, and leg muscles. It is ‘active sitting’ rather than the slumping and poor posture we develop even in ergonomic desk chairs. This is like building a physical fitness program at your own office.
- Stay Fit on Business Trips
Don’t forsake fitness when you’re traveling for work! It’s not easy to focus on exercise when you have a full agenda in a foreign city, but there are simple things you can do to stay active. Try easy workouts in your hotel room you might choose to rent a bike or walk instead of hailing a cab. You may also look up a video on YouTube and follow along in your hotel room. There are different physical fitness programs that different trainers add on Youtube.
- Bring a friend
If you haven’t seen your best friend forever in ages, consider making a workout date. Take a hike together, or sign up for a physical fitness program at your local gym. Working out with a group of friends also makes it easier to fit exercise into your busy schedule.