HealthNews Dozen: 12 Ways to Incorporate a Workout Into Your Work Day

Posted on Dec 30, 2009 in Uncategorized

By: Jennifer Newell

Published: Monday, 7 September 2009

Most people acknowledge the importance of exercise, but many who have rigid schedules, tough work hours, and family obligations find it difficult to fit workouts into their routines. Some don’t have a gym nearby or cannot afford a membership, and others just find that it takes a backseat to other life responsibilities. But for those who work in an office environment, daily exercise is easier to accomplish that one may think.

Exercise can fit into any daily routine. Though it may seem that one extra flight of stairs or a few arm exercises or some extra steps around the office would not make a difference, it truly all adds up to burning calories and keeping the body’s metabolism working properly. Every movement out of the ordinary is positive, and weeks of incorporating small workouts into a daily regimen will add up to a higher energy level, a bit of weight loss, and muscle building. Each effort counts towards a healthier you.

Whether a person works in a cubicle or closed office, there are exercises to be done each day that are subtle enough to go relatively unnoticed by most coworkers. A resistance band is small enough to fit in any desk drawer and can be whisked out for a brief stretch at any moment of the day. Small arm weights can fit under a desk and be used during long phone calls or breaks between work projects. And while sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair may garner more attention than the other items, it has become commonplace in many offices, and no one can fault a person for wanting to improve posture or work the leg and back muscles.

But it is certainly not necessary to tote exercise equipment to the office. Water bottles can serve as arm weights, leg and arm exercises can be done from the seated position in an office chair, and even stretches can be done if enough leg room is available. Squatting against a wall can be as productive as actively using an exercise ball, and push-ups can me done at random moments when no one is around. It is even beneficial to stand up and sit down as many times as possible during the day to work the leg and abdominal muscles.

Walking can be incorporated into any work day. If biking to work is not an option, extra walking is. If the bus is the mode of transportation, exit the bus a block or two early and walk the extra half mile or so to the office. Driving to work also affords opportunities, as parking at the far end of the lot or deeper into a parking structure allows more walking, whether it be across a lot or up an extra flight of stairs. And speaking of stairs, using them as much as possible instead of elevators or escalators gives a great workout without causing a tremendous sweat.

The best way to get into a routine is to gather the support of coworkers. Walking to lunch or taking a brisk walk after lunch is always easier with a friend or two, and it holds each person accountable for showing up each day. When another person depends on you to accompany them, the desire to do it is more sustainable. In addition, the buddy system – or even group system – might be enough to encourage an after-work trip to the gym together. Once or twice a week, coworkers may choose to carpool to the gym at lunch or after work. Another option is to look into a personal trainer who offers group rates and will come to the office after work once or twice a week.

No matter the effort, some is always better than none. And despite busy schedules, the practice of daily exercise on the job will ultimately improve one’s health and increase energy.