Winter, 2008 — If you're doing your best to set aside time for exercise either before work or after work, good for you. But finding time to exercise can be a challenge for anyone with a busy schedule. Why not work out while you're at work?
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Office Exercise 101
Sure, you know you can park at the far end of the parking lot and take the stairs instead of the elevator. These are great ideas, but there's even more you can do to burn calories during your workday — especially if you sit at a desk most of the day. Consider 10 creative ways to make office exercise part of your routine:
1. Make the most of your commute. Walk or bike to work. If you ride the bus, get off a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way.
2. Look for opportunities to stand. You'll burn more calories standing than sitting. Try a standing desk, or improvise with a high table or counter. Eat lunch standing up. Trade instant messaging and phone calls for walks to other desks or offices.
3. Take fitness breaks. Rather than hanging out in the lounge with coffee or a snack, take a brisk walk or do some gentle stretching. Pull your chin toward your chest until you feel a stretch along the back of your neck, or slowly bring your shoulders up toward your ears.
4. Trade your office chair for a fitness ball. A firmly inflated fitness ball can make a good chair. You'll improve your balance and tone your core muscles while sitting at your desk. You can even use the fitness ball for wall squats or other exercises during the day.
5. Keep exercise equipment in your work area. Store resistance bands — stretchy cords or tubes that offer weight-like resistance when you pull on them — or small hand weights in a desk drawer or cabinet. Do arm curls between meetings or tasks.
6. Get social. Organize a lunchtime walking group. You might be surrounded by people who are ready to lace up their walking shoes — and hold each other accountable for regular exercise. Enjoy the camaraderie, and offer encouragement to one another when the going gets tough.
7. Conduct meetings on the go. When it's practical, schedule walking meetings or brainstorming sessions. Do laps inside your building or, if the weather cooperates, take your walking meetings outdoors.
8. Pick up the pace. If your job involves walking, do it faster. Take long, easy strides, and remember to breathe freely while you walk.
9. If you travel for work, plan ahead. Exercise doesn't need to go by the wayside when you're traveling. If you're stuck in an airport waiting for a plane, grab your bags and take a brisk walk. Choose a hotel that has fitness facilities — such as treadmills, weight machines or a pool — or bring your equipment with you. Jump-ropes and resistance bands are easy to sneak into a suitcase. Of course, you can do jumping jacks, crunches and other simple exercises without any equipment at all.
10. Try a treadmill desk. If you're ready to take office exercise to the next level, consider a more focused walk-and-work approach. If you can comfortably position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen on a stand, a keyboard on a table or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — you may be able to walk while you work. In fact, Mayo Clinic researchers estimate that overweight office workers who replace sitting computer time with walking computer time by two to three hours a day could lose 44 to 66 pounds (20 to 30 kilograms) in a year. The pace doesn't need to be brisk, nor do you need to break a sweat. The faster you walk, however, the more calories you'll burn.
For more fitness tips check out BlackDoctor.org, the World’s largest and most comprehensive online health resource specifically targeted to African Americans.
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