It’s no big surprise that exercise is important to your health. Pretty much everyone knows they need to work out, but lots of us don’t do it enough. I consider myself a highly active person; I run marathons, do taekwondo, and do regular strength workouts. But it’s still surprisingly easy for me to slip back into old lazy habits and abruptly drop all my healthy habits when I get stressed or overwhelmed…even though I know a good workout always helps me relax. I get the struggle.
The Public Healthy Agency of Canada recommends adults 18-64:
- Be active at least 2.5 hours a week to achieve health benefits.
- Focus on moderate to vigorous aerobic activity throughout each week, broken into sessions of 10 minutes or more.
- Get stronger by adding activities that target your muscles and bones at least two days per week. (http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca)
That breaks down nicely into 30 minutes, 5 times a week. With a little planning, you can easily make that a part of your weekday routine and reap the benefits: like improved concentration, elevated mood, and, oh, what’s that other one? Oh yeah, a greatly reduced risk of death. Awesome.
Here are some ideas to get moving every day:
- If you work from home, like I do, it’s pretty easy. Just make a plan beforehand so you don’t even have to think about it and it’s a fluid part of your routine. My go-to lunch hour workouts are either a 30-minute run or a free workout video off YouTube (I like these ones). Easy-peasy.
- If you work in an office, it’s not really much different. Your main problem is going to be the risk of returning to work smelly and drenched in sweat, which is…not ideal. If your office building has a gym, or you work near a gym you have a membership at, you can run in for a 20-minute workout and then have a quick shower afterwards. Pack a change of clothes to work out in (obviously), deodorant, makeup for touch-ups, and a shower cap. You might look like an old lady in the shower, but you’ll look flawless back at the office, so it’s totally worth it.
- You can also just choose a workout that doesn’t make you sweaty. This will vary by the person and the climate. But most of the time, spending your lunch hour going for a brisk walk around the neighborhood is not going to leave you drenched in your own fluids. I also find I can get away with some lunch hour yoga without getting too smelly, as long as I apply some fresh deodorant. Check your gym’s class schedule; many offer short lunchtime classes specifically for people trying to fit it into a lunch break. Nothing feels better than a yoga break in the middle of a stressful day!
- If lunch hour workouts are a no-go, then try switching to an active commute. Walking (or even running) to work is a great option, as is cycling. If it’s too far to walk, consider talking public transit part of the way, and walking the rest. You’ll save gas money and help the environment in addition to helping yourself. Win/win!
- At the very least, you can try being more active at work. I like to break my day up into 30-minute chunks to stay focused, and when the 30-minute timer goes off, that’s a great time to get up, do a quick walk around the office, stretch, and sit back down refocused and refreshed. If you have a home office or a progressive employer, you can even try installing a treadmill desk so that you spend your entire workday walking.
Any other great ideas you’d share? Do you work out at work? Comment below!