Could You Be More Active At Work?
03 April 2018
It isn’t always easy to fit in gym visits and exercise sessions around work. However, it’s really important to be active daily. If we’re not we can end up with serious health implications, as well as feeling like we’re not performing at our best.
The NHS recommend that adults should try to do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (such as cycling or brisk walking every week) and strength exercises on two or more days a week to work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). But if you have a busy life juggling work and family commitments it can be hard to find the time to fit it all in.
Why does being active matter?
Being active can improve your strength, balance and make performing everyday tasks easier. It can help you manage and improve medical conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes. Regular activity is good for your mental health too, helping you to deal with stress, anxiety and other conditions. Of course, it can also help you maintain a healthy weight and boost your energy levels. If you’re trying to lose weight, exercise combined with a balanced diet should help you hit your target weight sooner.
Although you may feel that you have no time, there will be opportunities at work for you to be more active and not sedentary. In this blog post we’ll highlight some of the easiest ways you can get your heart pumping and improve your physical health and wellbeing.
Ditch the car
If you live within walking (or cycling) distance of your place of work why not try leaving your car at home? If you don’t want to do this every day, perhaps try to do it every other day or only take the car when the weather is bad or you’re working at anti-social times. A brisk walk can be good for your mind and body, blowing away the cobwebs.
If you don’t have a bike but would like to start cycling why not see of your employer offers a Cycle to Work scheme? You may be able to pay for a bike monthly rather than all in one go.
If you do need to drive to work, perhaps try to park at the far end of the car park so you have further to walk.
Take the stairs
It might take you longer if you opt for the stairs rather than the lift but climbing stairs is good for you. It raises your heart rate, increases your core muscle strength and tones your body. You can also avoid having to wait for the lift, and potentially catching every cold going when you’re crammed in to it with everyone else!
Use your lunchtimes actively
It can be easy to stay inside, glued to your phone or sat at a computer while you have your lunch. Jumping up and going for a stroll, or even a jog, could be much more productive. Why not ask a work colleague if they want to join you?
Do some chair exercises
If you spend a large proportion of your day sat at a desk, you’ll be pleased to know that there are some quick and easy chair-based exercises that you can try. From chest stretches to hip marching, neck stretches to arm raises, you can get active anytime you have a couple of minutes free. Chair exercises can be great for improving your posture too.
It can be second nature to pick up the phone or email someone when you have something to say, even if the person is in the same room as you. Why not walk over to them instead? This might not always be appropriate but even if you only do this a couple of times a day it gets you out of your seat and active for a few minutes.
Aim for 10,000 steps
By wearing a fitness tracker/pedometer you can track how many steps you do a day. Why not have competitions with your colleagues to see who can walk the most? You might be surprised at how few steps you do currently, NHS guidelines recommend everyone tries to do 10,000 steps a day, if they’re physically able.
Join a sports team
Are there any sports teams that run from your workplace? Many organisations field a football side or netball team; ask around to see what’s available. Alternatively you may find that some of your colleagues are members of local rugby, hockey or cricket teams that would welcome new members. Even if you’ve not been particularly sporty before, maybe now is the time to set yourself a challenge and also enjoy the social aspects of taking part in sport.
Couch to 5K
If you’ve always wanted to have a go at running but don’t fancy running to and from work everyday why not see if there’s a colleague who would let you jump in their car with them one way. That way you could run to work or back home, whichever suits you best. To start running sign up for the couch to 5k programme or join your local running club. Many clubs offer beginners training sessions to give you the confidence to start running by yourself.
You never know, you could enjoy it so much that you decide to run a half-marathon in a few months!
Before you sign up at your local sports centre or gym, check out what your employer offers first. Many provide physical health and wellbeing support including gym memberships, cycle to work schemes, and other resources or programmes. If your employer uses the Vivup portal you will find support in the physical health & wellbeing section. Login or sign up today to find out more, and get support if you need it.
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