We have all heard and know about the importance of exercise, and how it helps promote health and wellness in literally all areas. When reading about the myriad benefits that exercise provides, from cardio health to mental wellness, to weight loss, we may feel like running straight to the gym and getting a good workout. But then reality hits, and we realize that with all the hecticness that life throws our way, we just don’t have the time to spend at the gym. Does that mean we are doomed, and going to have to lose out on all that amazing health benefits that exercise affords you with? The answer is a resounding no! You don’t have to lose out on this important part of your daily routine, even when things get extremely busy. There are lots of exercises that you can do while you are doing whatever it is that you are already doing; allowing you to accomplish two things at one time. Now that’s what I call a real win-win in my books!
So how can you stay in shape, and feel great with exercise, all without hitting the gym?
Well, for some to accomplish this is really quite easy. For example, if you are a nurse in medical uniform you are getting a whole lot of exercise just by doing your job! Research shows that nurses walk an average of 4-5 miles on a 12-hour shift, compared to the average American who walks 2.5-3 miles throughout an 18 hour day. Or if you are a preschool teacher you come in at a close second. These jobs tend to be very physical with lots of bending and stretching, keeping you in shape without even trying.
But what about the rest of the world who sit by a desk for most of the day? Their physical activity at work may be limited to walking to the water cooler or going down the hall to use the restroom. How can they flex their muscles while sitting at their desk doing their work?
Here are some easy ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine without much extra effort on your part, yet the gain will be enormous.
Take the Scenic Route-
Park your car a bit further from your workplace and walk the remaining way to work. Not only will you burn some calories, but the walk will also invigorate you and give you a fresh start to your day. Even better, if you live within walking distance or biking distance to your job, ditch the car altogether, and save on gas as well!
Use the Stairs-
Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. If your office is on the lower floors of a building this one is a no brainer, but even if your office is on one of the higher floors, get off the elevator a few floors down and walk the rest of the way up. It will only take you an extra couple of minutes, but you will find your energy levels improve, and you will be lowering your risk for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, among other conditions.
Take a Stroll-
Take short breaks and stretch your muscles by walking to chat with a co-worker instead of shooting an email. Sitting for long periods of time can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. So, get social and gain the health benefits while you’re at it.
Utilize Your Lunch Hour-
Instead of hitting the corner cafe and spending your lunch hour chilling out with your latte and surfing the web, take a jog around the neighborhood. You don’t need to totally skip the latte and time to relax, but designate part of your lunch break to give those muscles a good workout. Your body with thanks you.
And, here is a list of easy exercises that you can do while sitting at your desk and get your work done, and no one will be the wiser (aside from you of course:).
- Football Fast Feet-
Sit at your desk with your feet on the ground and tap your feet on the ground at a rapid pace, as if you were running. Tap for 30 seconds, pause, and then repeat. Do every half hour or so get your body used to it, and slowly bring up your heart rate without breakout out into a sweat.
- Seat Squeeze-
If you want to really give your glutes a good workout, this one’s for you! Squeeze your buttocks and hold for 5-10 seconds before releasing. Repeat 10 times.
- Shoulder Raises-
This one is great to relieve the tension in your neck which tends to creep up when you sit peering at a screen all day. Just raise your shoulders up, hold for 10 seconds, and then relax. Alternate between shoulders, raising one shoulder at a time.
- Chair Dips-
Great for your triceps, chair dips are easy to do from your desk. While sitting in your chair, position your hands on the armrest and slide your bottom to the front of the chair. Slowly bring your arms to a straight position and lift your buttocks over the floor with your knees slightly bent and heels touching the floor. Lower yourself off the chair while breathing in slowly, and then return to your original sitting position while breathing out. Repeat 5 times.
With the above tips and ideas, you can now feel great and look great, without adding more time-consuming activities to your daily schedule. So, get moving and feel the difference!
Bio: Carol Kalat lives in New Jersey with her husband and three children. She works as the marketing director for Medical Scrubs Collection, an online nursing uniform store. She enjoys staying on top of the latest nursing news and loves blogging about nurses and healthy lifestyle-related topics.