Did you guys know that February is American Heart Month? My group at work (full-time job, not the Y) has pushed out weekly information on our Intranet to raise company awareness on heart health as part of our work site wellness initiatives. Our goal has been to educate staff members on how they can greatly reduce their risk of developing heart disease through lifestyle changes such as making healthy food choices, quitting smoking, controlling cholesterol and blood pressure, keeping active, and managing stress.
Each week in February we’ve featured a different topic. Week 1 was an overview of what Heart Health month is, along with a fun “test your heart health IQ” quiz. Week 2 was an announcement about a cardiovascular lecture series that one of our customers is offering locally and for free. Last week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we did a fun feature on the health benefits of dark chocolate. However, this week’s is my favorite so far – all about easy ways to fit more fitness into your 9-5 workday! I figured this would be a fun one to “re-purpose” for F&F and share with you.
Get Moving At Work
One of the most important things you can do to stay heart healthy is to simply move more! By exercising for as little as 30 minutes a day, you can reduce your risk of heart disease. Even three 10-minute periods of activity are almost as beneficial to your overall fitness levels as one 30-minute session. However, even if you exercise regularly, research shows that prolonged sitting at work raises the risk of cardiac and metabolic disease. In fact, studies show that for every hour of walking, you can actually increase your life expectancy by two hours! Since work takes up a significant part of the day, it’s important to find small ways to reduce time spent sitting. Here are some ways you can increase physical activity during the workday:
Park further away
Instead of circling for a parking spot closest to your building entrance, park further away on purpose. Sacrificing a little convenience will burn more calories.
Hold walking meetings
Brainstorm project ideas, discuss issues, or prep for meetings by taking a walk around the building with your co-workers instead of booking a conference room.
Take the stairs
Use the stairs instead of the elevator. You’ll get your blood flowing and burn an extra 50 to 100 calories a day. If taking the stairs all the way up seems like an intimidating place to start, get off the elevator a few floors early and take the stairs the rest of the way.
Take the long route
Put your lunch in the kitchenette on the other side of the building, print to a printer downstairs, and take the long way to the bathroom. Every extra step adds up!
Do exercises at your desk
Sneak in some exercises while being chair bound. Bring in a stability ball to use as a desk chair, tap your feet in place to simulate a football run, do leg extensions, even pushups on the hour!
Create more face-to-face time
Walk down the hall to speak with a colleague rather than emailing or using the telephone. You’ll be healthier and build better workplace relationships.
Stand while talking on the phone
Standing is better for your back than sitting, it improves balance, strengthens leg muscles, burns more calories, and gets the blood flowing. It can also help you feel more alert and energetic so you perform your best.
Add walking to your lunch menu
Keep a pair of sneakers at your desk, and take a walking break in the middle of the day for lunch. You could even start a walking club with your co-workers to help motivate you!
What are your tips for ways to move more during the workday? I’d love to hear them!
P.S. The winner of my Brookside Chocolates Tasting Kit giveaway is Rachel! Rachel said that she finds balance with healthy living by eating healthy and working out, but not restricting herself from having sweets too. Rachel, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your (awesome) prize!
I’ll take a quick break to do simple things like planks, wall sits, squats, lunges, wall push ups, etc. to keep myself moving throughout the day.
This inspired me today. I got a two mile walk in at lunch.
My workplace must be participating in something like this, since they just started a “Fitbit Challenge.” After giving Fitbit Zips to all faculty/staff members who signed up for the program, they’re offering prizes to folks that get more than 10,000 steps a day, every day for a month (where each prize drawing is for a specified 30 day period.)
Even though I’ve been training up for a 10 mile run in April, it’s been interesting to see how intense my activity is across the day outside of when I’m officially working out… Kind of scary to realize that I spend 1-2 hours of high activity, but over 20 hours of being sendentary!