This post is brought to you by Ron Merryman, Youfit’s very own Director of Education.
So you’ve got a desk job. As you’ve probably already figured out, this is not something that is going to help you with your New Year’s resolution to get in shape. In fact, your job could be what leads you to justify that you probably can’t hit your goal in the first place. After all, how are you supposed to remain active during an eight- to 10-hour work day, five days a week?
I get it. Exercising is difficult. Roughly 85% of Americans do not belong to a health club. And many of those with health club memberships don’t make the time to go to their gym regularly. So how do you make sure you don’t fall victim to these statistics? The first step is realizing that your health is a 24/7 priority. Too often, we have a preconceived notion that exercise can only happen in a gym. It doesn’t. In fact, exercise is the sum of all your activity during the day — the gym just enhances it. That’s why fitness trackers track all kinds of movement. They track your regular exercise like running, weight lifting or taking a group exercise class. They also track walking, whether it’s with your dog or around the supermarket. And they track things like sleep and diet. The takeaway here is that your health is the sum of your lifestyle. So how can you enlist your day job to be a complementary part of your goal to get healthier? Check out these tips on exercising at your desk:
- Use a refillable water bottle. Water makes up the overwhelming majority of your composition, so staying hydrated is absolutely necessary. The benefits of a refillable bottle are two-fold. First, it keeps your body hydrated. Second, you have to refill the bottle. This means you have to get up and go to the kitchen or water fountain to get that done. This also breaks up the day and gets you off your rear. Make it a goal to drink three 20oz bottles of water during your workday.
- Never eat lunch at your desk. If you eat lunch at your desk, it’s an excuse to stay seated throughout your work day. Staying in a seated position for long periods of time can lead to overactive hip flexors, which can in turn contribute to back pain and weakened glutes. Developing inactive glutes was probably NOT at the top of your New Year’s resolution priority list.
- Take a walk after lunch. Have you ever noticed that about an hour after your lunch break, you start looking for that next cup of coffee? Taking a walk after you eat can increase circulation and will use some of the energy you’ve consumed rather than store it. If you choose to stay seated, your blood can get “stuck” and your body will have a hard time feeding your tissues the energy it needs. And, light to moderate cardiovascular exercise has been shown to help flush out lactic acid, which will shorten the recovery phase of training.
- Last, stretch a different body part every 20–30 minutes. Check out some videos that show proper stretching techniques. Most people who exercise don’t stretch enough before and after their workouts, so why not do it at work? There are no rules that say you can only stretch when you’re at the gym. Incorporating stretching into your day opens the door for added movement and improves recovery time, flexibility and circulation.
Good luck staying fit at work by incorporating extra movement and motivation into your day. By realizing that your weight loss goal requires a lifestyle change, you are one step closer to achieving those resolutions you’ve set for 2016!
Director of Education – Youfit