Try these simple ways to get active – and burn more kilojoules.
Our hectic lifestyles mean that, sometimes, the only time for exercise is to wedge it into your working day. And if you’re chained to the desk, it’s especially important. Sitting for too long not only impacts your heart health, but evidence now suggests it can even shorten your lifespan. Here are some sneaky ways you can exercise at work - no matter how busy your schedule is.
Take lunch on the move
Use your hour to get moving - walking is the easiest activity. Throw on a pair of sneakers and choose a route. Make a loop about 15 minutes each way. To rev up your workout, vary your pace. Try three minutes of walking as fast as you can, then walking for two minutes at a slower pace. This will increase your heart rate and burn up to 500 kilojoules*. You could also use the time to run errands, hit the bank or dry cleaners. After you’re done, find a peaceful spot to savour your lunch.
Recent research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity shows the more you sit (more than four hours per day), the higher your risk of chronic diseases, including obesity and type 2 diabetes. However, simple ‘deskercises’ like calf raises, leg extensions, buttocks squeezes (holding for the count of 10), or standing up to stretch every 30 minutes are sure-fire ways to safeguard yourself against death by desk. Among the benefits: reduced muscular tension and better circulation.
Opt for the stairs
Yep, you’ve heard that one a million times. But consider this: walking up three flights of stairs burns about 65 kilojoules. Do that four to five times a day and you’ve earned yourself a regular-sized skim latte.
Regular stair climbing also improves bone density, aerobic fitness and levels of good cholesterol. Bonus plateau-breaker: use the stairs to visit the bathroom on the floor above or below.
Have walking meetings
Need to discuss an important matter with a colleague? Skip the conference room, slip on some walking shoes, and invite them for a stroll.
If you need to take notes, use the voice recorder on a smart phone. And, rather than e-mailing colleagues, walk to their desk instead.
Stand up and double your kilojoules burned while you chat on the phone and you can blast approximately 500 kilojoules* for every hour you rack up throughout the day. A hands-free headset might provide an incentive.
Transform your commute
Instead of sitting in traffic, or reading or playing on your smartphone on public transport, transform your daily commute into an exercise regimen.
If you live close to your office, then try replacing your car with your sneakers and walk or ride your bicycle to work. If that’s not an option, take public transport and walk at least a quarter of the way.
A 20-minute workout, provided it’s at a pace that increases your heart rate and breathing rate, can be just as beneficial as a longer one.
So, how do you tell if you’re moving at the right pace? You can talk, but you can’t sing.
Trade your chair for a fit-ball
These inflatable exercise balls stimulate your muscles while you work and improve your posture, too. As you sit on the ball, you’ll need to constantly stabilise your position and straighten your spine so you stay upright, improving your core strength.
From time to time, you can do the occasional bounce to increase circulation around the body and brain. Now, that’s smart thinking.