I’ll be blunt. Today’s corporate culture does not provide a very “healthy” environment for most people. Think about it… 50 years ago the work force was comprised of many labor intensive positions that involved lifting, climbing, and building, also known as various forms of exercise. As modern technology has evolved, we seem to spend more time in front of a computer screen rather than having any type of physical activity. Consider your “Lunch Break” for example, where most people are found B-lining to the cafeteria for a quick fix or running out to pick up donuts for work colleagues. Now add an average 40-hour workweek, 5-10 hours for the typical weekly commute, and finding time to exercise can be a daunting challenge. Our corporate environments have turned into safe havens for inactivity and poor food choices. So with all this said, exactly what can we do to accommodate working out with such demanding time constraints?
I recently came across an interesting read with some unique tips of how to incorporate activity in our busy lives: Fitting in Fitness: Hundreds of Simple Ways to Put more Physical Activity into Your Life, written by the American Heart Association®. The book provides suggestions for incorporating physical activity in venues that you may not typically consider an environment for exercise. Now I’m not suggesting running a marathon each day, but you would be surprised how some effort in your day-to-day work activities can drastically help you stay in shape.
Here are some of my favorite suggestions:
- Park Farther Away. Arrive a few minutes early to work, and park farther away from the building entrance than you normally would. If you just walk a few hundred more feet each day, 5 days a week, it will add up over time.
- Take the stairs when possible. This simple task is underestimated. You burn more calories walking up stairs than on flat surfaces. Some of us work in buildings with several stories. Start by getting off the elevator a few floors lower than your office, and gradually increase the number of flights you walk each day.
- Schedule your day. Set appointments to get up and walk around the office. Use your watch or computer to set a timer that ensures you walk around the building every hour. Making photocopies, doing stretching exercises, or even to visit a fellow colleague in a nearby cubicle, is just another opportunity to be more active.
- Establish a support system. Set up walking or jogging groups with other work colleagues during your lunch break. As the weather gets nicer, use opportunities to go for walks with your friends and squeeze in some activity in your day.
- Pace around. If you are on the phone frequently, take an opportunity to find an empty conference room and use the headset or speaker phone option. Pace around during the call. You will burn more calories pacing around a room than just sitting at a desk, especially for those calls that run over a half hour long.
- Exercise the time away. When waiting for photocopies or to use the printer, engage in some stand up wall pushups or calf raises. This is a great way to make time fly by. Every little bit helps!
- Bus Stops. Exit a few stops early from your usual bus or train stop and walk the added distance. A great start to anyone’s day is a nice walk first thing in the morning.
- Hotel accommodations. When scheduling business trips, call ahead to ensure your hotel accommodations offer a fitness center, pool, or nearby park for your exercise needs.
Try a few of these great tips and the results will speak for themselves. Trust me, every little bit helps along the way. A few extra calories burned here and there, will end up being thousands of calories burned by the year’s end. Use your corporate culture as an opportunity for some corporate cardio!
I also always recommend HealthyWage to anyone who wants to make their weight loss journey more effective and fun. HealthyWage provides health incentives for everyone, and makes accountability exciting. Recent studies show that incentives increase your odds of success. So check it out and keep up the good work!