You may not realize it but your office is secretly a fitness center. You read it right. Even if your company doesn’t have a gym on the premises, you can get in shape while you work. With the right knowledge and planning, you can do a complete fitness program without compromising your work responsibilities. In fact, you will become more productive, alert, and focused. A balanced fitness program has three components – aerobic exercise (for your heart and lungs), stregnth training (for your muscles), and stretching (for your joints).
The secret to doing all three types of exercise at work without losing your job is to do it in short brief sessions of five to ten minutes. Research has proven that accumulating snippets of exercise through the day is as effective for general fitness and weight loss as doing continuous exercise.
For your office workout to be successful, you need good organizational skills, which is an attribute that office people already have. How else can they be effective at work? So use those skills to make you healthier, slimmer, stronger, and shapelier. Since you will be doing short exercise sessions sporadically through the day, you need a way to be reminded and a way to keep track of what you have to do. Devise your own reminder system – cell phone or computer alarms, post-it-notes, etc.
To document and track your program, use a PDA, excel forms, or go low-tech with a small notebook. List down your exercises and check them off as you do them. At a glance, you will see what exercises you still have to do for that day or how many more short sessions of walking you have to do.
Your goal is to accumulate 30 to 60 minutes a day by walking or stair climbing. Slow walking is like strolling in the mall. It burns approximately 3.5 calories per minute. Brisk walking is walking as if you are late for an important meeting. It uses up about 5 to 6 calories per minute Take the stairs instead of the elevator or the escalator. Ask yourself: “When was the last time I used the stairs when I was only going from the first to the second floor?” Stair climbing burns 8 calories a minute. Use your own two legs to deliver messages from one department of your office to another instead of the office messenger getting all the health benefits from walking around.
If you drive to work, park your car farther away than you usually do. When doing errands after work, park at the opposite end of the mall from your destination. Walk briskly without stopping to look at the store windows until you have accumulated the desired minutes then slow down and do your window-shopping.
When going to lunch, try to find a restaurant that is within walking distance. Take the longest route you can think of to go there and back. A pedometer, a device that counts your steps, is very useful if you don’t want the hassle of tracking the time spent walking or stair climbing. Aim for 10,000 to 15,000 steps a day. Pedometers can be bought at some drugstoresm and sporting goods stores.
Small equipment like dumbbells, ankle weights, and exercise rubber bands can be easily kept under your desk and are very effective at firming up your muscles for a shapelier you. Try to do one or two exercises per hour. This should only take a few minutes. There won’t even be a hint of perspiration on your brow when you finish so don’t worry about being hot and sweaty.
Stretching keeps you supple and flexible and helps you to avoid aches and pains associated with long hours of working at the computer. To keep things simple, do a stretch right after you do your hourly strength training exercises. If you did a chest strengthening exercise, do a chest stretch.
It is more motivating to exercise with other people. Start your own “group” by getting one or two officemates to commit to doing hourly exercises at the same time at your desks. You don’t have to do the exact same exercises if you have different goals (you want firmer arms, she wants shapelier thighs), but it’s more fun if you have company and if you are shy, you won’t feel so “silly” working out by yourself.