For most of us, our daily schedules are pretty full and hectic. We may go to the gym sometimes, or even regularly, but the rest of the day is often spent sitting in a chair in front of a computer screen. But you don’t have have to sacrifice physical activity during your busy day. Here are 9 ways to be more physically active during the day, even with a busy schedule:
Take a walk- Simply getting up and going for a walk is the best way to be more active. You can take a walk at any time and it takes no equipment at all. Try taking a 15 minute walk each morning before work or in the evening after dinner. Or, as I mentioned before, taking a brief walking break at work can do wonders for your mood and productivity.
Take the stairs- I have a “Rule of 2” that I always follow; If my destination is within 2 flights of where I am (up or down), I take the stairs. As much as I can, I try to encourage my elevator-riding co workers to follow me to the stairs. It always bothers me to see people riding the elevator one or two floors.
Avoid the closest restroom to your office- There is a restroom close to my office, but I usually avoid it. I do this by always pretending that it’s closed for cleaning. Instead, I take the stairs to the restroom on the second or third floor. It’s out of the way and not convenient, but it gets me moving.
Avoid the closest parking spot- Every time we enter a parking lot our first impulse is to head to the front of the lot and find the closest spot. This sometimes makes sense if we have kids or there is bad weather. But any other time we should look at the parking lot as an opportunity to move. Park in the back of the parking lot at the office, grocery store, mall, etc. instead of the front and take advantage of all that walking space.
Bodyweight Exercises- Most mornings I spend about 15 to 20 minutes doing some bodyweight exercises to help wake up and get energized. I include push-ups, crunches, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, triceps dips, and lunges to name a few. These exercises need no equipment except a chair and the floor. There are also several “7-Minute Workout” apps out there to get you started. There is some debate about the effectiveness of just 7 minutes of exercise, but many of these apps allow you to customize longer workouts. The main idea here, though, is getting up and getting moving any way we can.
Office stretches- If you sit for long periods of time at work, it is a good idea to stretch at regular intervals throughout the day. Sitting for long periods of time can cause back pains, headaches, tightness and tension in you neck and shoulders and general feelings of fatigue. Take a few minutes each hour and perform a few of these stretches to promote good posture and prevent lingering aches and pains resulting from sitting too long.
Walking meetings- If you have a meeting on your calendar that does not require a computer or lots of paper, take it outside. This works great for shorter, one-on-one type meetings and huddles (20 minutes or less). Walking meetings were a favorite of Steve Jobs, and there are plenty of good reasons to fit them into your schedule as well. Benefits of walking meetings include increased engagement and focus among participants, enhanced relationship building, increased creativity and problem solving and, most important, physical activity.
Walk to lunch- If you go out to eat for lunch while you are at work, pick somewhere close by and walk instead of driving.
Standing/Walking Desk- Many offices now offer standing, or even walking desks. The benefits are similar to those of walking meetings. If you’re interested, check with your office to see if a standing desk is an option, or if you work from home, build your own.