We all know it: exercise is good for us. It boosts physical health, aids emotional well-being and relieves stress. However, we’re all also masters at self-deception. Especially when it comes to convincing ourselves that we have no time to exercise. Of course, there’s no denying the long hours we put in at work or the other innumerable tasks that leave very little space for a planned work-out programme.
But, with a pinch of creativity and a smidgen of motivation, here’s how you can squeeze in a few mini workouts in your otherwise sedentary day.
- Sneaky fix: If the thought of exercise makes you cringe, add small pockets of simple activity in your normal work routine. Choose to trek up or down the stairs instead of hopping into the elevator. Park in the farthest parking lot so that you clock a few extra steps while walking to and from the office. Get creative to trick yourself to move in ways that don’t seem like exercise.
- Get up: While at your desk, look for reasons to get off your chair. Explore the option of a standing desk where you can work standing up. Do leg raises (rise up on your toes, hold for a few seconds and go back down) while waiting for the coffee machine to churn out your caffeine fix or while hanging around the water cooler. Walk around (if possible) or stand up while on a call. Add movement to mundane tasks so you kill two birds with one stone.
- Sit tight: If sitting is your thing then squeeze your glute muscles (yes, we’re talking about your behind) every chance you get. Not only will you get a more toned tush, the added effort will keep you falling asleep at your desk. Or you could work on your thighs by practicing seated leg raisers (lift your legs off the ground, hold for a few seconds, and bring them back down). If you’re in the mood to take it to the next level, try replacing your chair with an exercise ball. The effort of maintaining your balance will keep your abs working and the calories burning
- Stretch out: Simple stretches can be ideal to de-stress during a particularly hectic workday. To start with, stretch out your arm and pull down at your fingers with your other hand to relieve the pressure of typing. Change hands and repeat. Or, bring your palms together as if praying, elbows out. Lower them until a stretch is felt. If the neck is where you carry your stress, do slow neck rotations, clockwise and counter-clockwise, to relieve the strain. Round it off: lift both your arms up in the air, link your fingers together and pull up for a nice, long stretch.
Adding physical movement to your workday can initially feel like a challenge. But like everything else, all it needs is a little bit of thought and effort to make it possible. Remember, every little bit counts to making your work life more productive and stress-free.