Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week along with 2 or more days of muscle strengthening activities. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 60% of adults do not achieve the recommended amount of physical activity. In fact, 25% of all adults perform no activity at all.
For many people, finding time to exercise before or after work is near impossible. But physical activity need not be separate from work. Several research studies have found that people are more productive and in better moods at work when they exercise during the day. Here are some tips to help you reach your physical activity goals while you work.
Use a Balance Ball
Exchanging your desk chair for a balance ball is an easy way to improve your health immediately. A balance ball requires the body to constantly adjust in order to achieve stability and proper alignment of the spine. The body must use the core muscles - the abdominals, hips and back - to achieve this. Not only will a balance ball improve your posture, but it will give you a low impact workout throughout the day.
Try a Desk Bicycle
Many fitness companies have come out with economical, lightweight compact bicycle pedals that are small enough to put just about anywhere. These bicycles can be used to strengthen the legs and/or the arms. Place it under your desk and bike while you work.
Maximize Your Breaks
Everyone needs a break during the day. Using this time to exercise is a great way to improve mental clarity and circulation. Take 15 minutes to go for a brisk walk outside or in the parking garage; use resistance bands; do some wall sits, leg extensions, or chair dips. If you are able to do this twice a day, you've met your recommended amount of physical activity for the day.
Take the Stairs for Everything
Stop taking the elevator or the escalator. Take the stairs anytime you need to do something, even if it's on the same floor. For example, if you need to use the bathroom, take the stairs to the top floor and use the bathroom there. Take the stairs two at a time for more of a challenge.
Exercise at Lunch
For many people, lunch is the only flexible time during the day. Consider getting a group of coworkers together for 30 minutes to do some walking, a yoga video, or weights. Once you finish, eat your lunch and congratulate yourself for getting in your activity for the day.
Stand When You Can
Various studies suggest that prolonged sitting is horrible for health and increases mortality. Try standing at least a couple of times an hour - when you're on the phone, reading something, organizing, filing, or just taking a break. You'll burn more calories and improve your circulation every time you stand up.
Mandy Seay is a bilingual registered and licensed dietitian who holds both a bachelor's degree in nutrition and in journalism. After gaining 30 pounds while living abroad, Mandy worked to lose the weight and regain her health. It was here that she discovered her passion for nutrition and went on to pursue a career as a dietitian. Mandy currently works as a nutrition consultant and freelance writer in Austin, Texas, where she specializes in diabetes, weight management and general and preventive nutrition. She recently published her first book, Your Best Health, a personalized program to losing weight and gaining a healthy lifestyle. Please visit Mandy's website at Nutritionistics.com.