March 30, 2012
Work out: Fitting in fitness at work
Remember the gym? You first wandered in months ago. Hopeful. Resolved. You made promises. Maybe you’ve broken them now.
It’s tough to fit in fitness. You have enough challenges in your life; fitting into your pants shouldn’t be one of them. To fit fitness into your life, it must fit in at work. Here’s how.
Park on the back nine
Lucky you: You always find the best parking places. And winning the “Employee of the Month” spot gets you on your way home while co-worker Linda is still roaming the lot debating whether to trigger her car alarm again.
But Linda is burning calories and working up a sweat. What if you did that on purpose? Just pick a spot at the edge of the lot. Five extra minutes of walking twice a day is a better prize than the one with your name on it.
Cycle to work
Riding a bike to work requires a bit of planning. Where will you shower? Can you stash grooming essentials at work ahead of time? Is there a secure place to lock up your ride home?
At least weigh the options before eliminating this excellent fitness opportunity. Would biking one way and using public transportation for the opposite direction be more doable to start? Be creative. Think of a bike commute as a two-for-one. When the extra endorphins blow through your system, you might not even need that caffeine after all.
Use the wrong stop
Get off the bus early and hoof it in. Add half a mile or more each way on a daily basis and you’ve made a significant dent in the weekly 150 minutes of moderate exercise recommended for adults. It’s mind-clearing, fresh-air time, too.
Take the stairs
Elevators are just plain awkward. Groups of people stare at closed doors and unlit arrows to avoid having to make small talk. Take the steps; it’s faster and better for you. Plus, witty comments are entirely optional on a stairway passing.
Take a stand
Sit all day? Ask your human resources department about trying a standing desk. The calorie calculator at JustStand.org estimates that a 150-pound person burns 368 more calories per eight-hour workday by standing instead of sitting.
Run office errands
Rethink the hierarchy of running errands. Making the office coffee or lunch run earns you at least 20 minutes of physical activity.
Hit the gym
Check on corporate discounts for gyms near your workplace. Suggest the idea to human resources if none exists.
Working out during your lunch hour once or twice a week is better than nothing. Or after work, when everyone is inching home on the roadways, you could be de-stressing with a quick workout.
Keep weights handy
Resistance bands and/or hand weights are small enough to fit in a drawer or under your desk. When you find yourself between meetings but without enough time to tackle anything substantial, why not take five to lift 10?
Resistance bands can be used to work just about every muscle. Educate yourself on the options and try them out at home first.
Take it on the road
Don’t let up during business travel. Most hotels have gyms, or you might be able to get a walking/running route from the concierge or online. You might feel like collapsing at then end of a long day, but you’ll feel better if you fit in fitness first.
Set group goals
Start a regular walking, running or stair-climbing group at work. Unite with like-minded co-workers and hold yourselves accountable to one another.
Set up a couple of routes with an indoor option in case of bad weather. Waylay excuses with backup plans and set some goals. If you engage in mall walking, set a “no stopping and shopping” rule to maintain a fitness focus.
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