For many, the biggest challenge in maintaining a healthy lifestyle comes from changing habits in the workplace. How do you make wellness a top priority when you need to be sedentary at least 40 hours a week?
I’m certainly no miracle of modern fitness myself, but I have the advantage of being married to a personal trainer certified by The Cooper Institute, and I’ve consulted with a lot of my friends who have successfully restructured their lives in order to bring you just a few helpful suggestions on ways you can make progress in your 2016 fitness goals while you’re at the workplace.
1. 30-SECOND EXERCISES
While it is very important to spend at least 20 minutes doing cardio or resistance training that will elevate the heart rate, there are little things you can do rather inconspicuously to help muscles, joints, and tendons – and you don’t have to change into gym gear! Here are three of my favorites:
- Calf Raises: it’s as simple as standing on your toes! It can even be done – albeit carefully - in stilettos. I try to do twenty in 30 seconds several times a day, especially if I’m going to be in an elevator for a bit. Which brings us to…
- Taking the Stairs: I know it seems a bit obvious, and at times it’s impractical as it can be tough on the knees for those who are really out of shape, but just taking one flight of stairs is a good start. (And it’s just as important to take steps going down.)
- Wall Sits: This one’s a bit different. You simply put your back against a sturdy wall, put your feet out in front of you with about six inches of distance between them, then slide your back down until you’re at a 90-degree angle, as if seated in a chair. Hold this position for 30 seconds, although it’s best if you can do 60! You’ll really feel it in your thighs.
2. KEEP TRACK OF WHAT YOU EAT
Logging what you eat is pretty straightforward, but it’s not an easy habit to get into. I struggled for a long time myself with estimating quantities, knowing how to describe what I was eating, and so on. (I found it particularly tough if I went to the lunch buffet at Afrah, until a friend pointed out the irony of me moaning about the difficulty of counting calories at an all-you-can-eat.) By far the best app is MyFitnessPal, which has loads of users and a database of over 2,000,000 foods which makes maintaining a food diary much easier. It’s something anyone can do, and tracking what you eat and how much goes a long way to illuminating the path to healthier living.
3. GET YOUR OFFICE TO ORDER HEALTHY SNACK ALTERNATIVES
A break room or board room can sometimes seem like a den of iniquity for the well-meaning weight watcher, with sugary, high-sodium snacks lurking everywhere. Sure, you could bring a banana or an apple to work with you, but in the morning rush that’s easily overlooked.
Instead, you might suggest to your Office Manager or the Executive Assistants that they have fresh fruit delivered on a regular basis. The primary company providing this service to the D/FW Metroplex is ORCHARD At The OFFICE, a local company specializing in office fresh fruit delivery. Not only will you have some healthy and tasty fruit to snack on, but your whole office can share the goodness! This one’s really worth looking into, as there are some insurance companies that will reimburse your organization by considering it a wellness expense.
Whatever your fitness goals, don’t forget to have fun, take it one step at a time…and LIVE WELL!