Wellness Works #5

You might not know this about me, but I was a total jock growing up.

I played soccer, basketball, and volleyball, and I swam, and I ran cross country.

Jock Jams was my jam.

But somewhere between college and landing that oh-so-coveted first office job, all sports and exercising came to a screeching halt.

And I didn’t realize how much sitting at a desk all day really zapped my energy and made it seemingly impossible to maintain any sort of workout routine.

Seemingly impossible. 

But I eventually found out that it’s totally doable.

And, just like eating clean at work, it doesn’t have to be hard or seem like work.

Every day, people train for half marathons, marathons, and triathlons while trapped in a nine-to-five job. They commit to a daily yoga practice. They lift weights, they walk, they ride their bikes.

(Have you read Rachel Belmont’s story about training for an ultramarathon while a full-time college student holding down a job and a kick-ass GPA? No big deal.)

They make working out work.

So did I. I trained and finished two half marathons while working full-time. I got stronger and healthier in the midst of my office career than I ever was in high school or college when I had more time and more opportunity to play and make working out fun.

I made it a priority. Is it important to you to stay lean, reduce your risk of some nasty diseases, keep your bones strong, feel happy, have more energy, and up your odds of living longer?

Then, let’s talk about some easy ways you can move more throughout the day. I’m not even talking about a full-on, sweat-your-ass-off sweat session. I’m talking about small things that add up to make a huge difference.

Your pancake ass will thank me.

Host a walking meeting.

Need to talk to your boss or your project team? Instead of sitting around a conference table to make everyone feel important or jumping on a conference call (because we all know how effective those really are), why not go for a walking meeting?

Google does it.

Walking meetings boost creativity, energy, and productivity; they increase communication, morale, and relationships; and they’re obviously way better for you than sitting still.

Get up and walk during your calls.

Okay, maybe your project team isn’t in the same office and you can’t get out of the conference call. 

You know what you can do?

Go for a walk while you’re on the call.

Hell, get crazy and go for a walk whenever you need to make a phone call. Sure beats sitting at your desk, am I right?

Fit in some stealth strength training on conference calls.

All right, your only option is a conference call and you’re chained to your desk for some reason or other.

Why not do some squats, lunges, calf raises, wall sits, chair dips, or leg lifts while you’re on that call? 

Maybe some jumping jacks, crunches, or planks if you’re up for more of a challenge.

Unless it’s a video conference. In which case you might look pretty damn crazy.

Take the stairs.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, this same old advice again. But it makes every single list of get-off-your-lazy ass ideas because it’s effective and something pretty much anyone can do.

Avoid the elevator or escalator and take the stairs. Walk them, run them, take them two at a time - just do it.

Do some stretching and yoga at your desk.

You know how your posture is a little more Quasimodo than prima donna from sitting at a desk all the time? Your shoulders are hunched and ridiculously tight, and your neck is super sore. Your back hurts like a bitch, too.

Fitting in some stretching and yoga at your desk is the perfect answer for these aches and pains.

Nothing fancy, unless you have an office and want to roll out a mat for a real session. Just some shoulder and neck rolls, seated leg stretches, standing thigh stretches, and wrist and finger stretches. Mix it up with some side bends, chair pigeon pose, seated twists, cow face arms, eagle arms, seated cat-cow, and seated forward bend while you’re at it. 

Nothing strenuous but definitely a pick-me-up when you’ve been hovering over your keyboard all day.

Schedule a lunchtime workout.

Got a gym in your office building? Maybe a gym nearby? 

Go on your lunch break.

A 20-minute run or strength session leaves you plenty of time to get there and back and (hopefully) rinse off after your workout.

No gym nearby?

Get your ass outside and run around a bit. Or just go for a walk. Get outside and move.

Go for a walk on your break.

You know you should be getting up from your desk to take breaks, right?

(Side note: Ever notice that the smokers take way more breaks but only you get chastised for leaving your desk for 15 minutes?)

Take advantage of your break time and go for a walk. 

Maybe avoid the smoking area though.

Don’t be afraid to fidget.

Did you know that fidgeters burn more calories, can live longer, and can fight disease better? And, it turns out, all that fiddling can improve your memory and attention span.

 Bounce that leg, click that pen, tap your toes, drum your fingers…it helps.

Keep sneakers and socks at your desk.

Makes going for that walk or run much easier. Especially when you’re using those three-inch heels as an excuse.

(Stop wearing those, by the way. They’re not so good for you.)

Hit up the gym on your break.

Repeat question: Got a gym in your office building?

Sneak away for a few reps on your break. You can easily fit in a couple exercises in 15 minutes.

Plus, all those mini sessions really do add up.

Walk or bike to work if possible.

Okay, not technically something you can do at work. But it gets you to work. 

If I were ever lucky enough to have lived closed enough to the office to walk or bike, I definitely would have it. It gives you time to mentally prepare for or wind down from your day.

And that walk or ride counts as a workout for the day. Win-win.

Stand while working, maybe try out a treadmill desk.

I hate to break it to you, but sitting is kind of the new smoking. Studies have shown a link between sitting for too long and an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, back pain, depression, anxiety, and cancer.

Standing while you work can help with tech neck and those hunched shoulders, but it can also lower your blood sugar, improve your mood and energy, make you more productive, and even help you live longer.

Kick it up a notch with a treadmill desk or maybe one of those stationary bike desks. Even one of those weird foot pedal things is better than nothing.

Keep weights at your desk.

This tip is not just for meatheads.

You can totally squeeze in some bicep curls, shoulder presses, tricep extensions, dumbbell rows, and deadlifts at your desk. Could come in handy for those conference calls on which your presence or participation isn't’ really needed…

But, never forget, that when it comes to your health and wellness, you need to show up. It doesn’t need to feel like work, but you do need to workout. 

And this week’s freebie - a checklist of freshen-up goodies for when you’re fresh out of water - will make it a little easier to fit in that lunchtime workout. Grab it below.