Turn your work space into a health hub
Having a full time job can easily keep you from getting enough activity for your body and mind.
But what if there was a way to create a workspace that inspires you to get up and get moving?
Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise to lower their risk for diseases like cancer. You should also aim to get in at least two strength training sessions each week. If you stack all that next to an eight hour work day, it can seem impossible.
Research shows that if you take a five or 10 minute break away from your desk, you come back more productive. Having the right equipment nearby and knowing what to do with it might just fill your day with extra energy.
Our Senior Exercise Physiologist Whittney Thoman has a plan to transform your area into a hub for healthy living.
Here's what you need for your health hub
You can turn your office, cubical or other shared space into a health hub with these simple items:
Resistance bands or dumbbells. These allow you to do easy strength training routines. Short workouts shouldn’t get you too sweaty. Bands and dumbbells are small enough to store away in a small drawer or on a shelf. Strength training can boost your metabolism, help you lose weight and maintain muscle mass and bone density.
Yoga mat. This can be for yoga or simply for stretching. Maintaining flexibility is important, especially if you sit at a desk all day. Stretching boosts energy, releases tension and improves circulation.
Foam roller or lacrosse ball. These can be used to ease tight muscles, especially for people who are hunched over a desk all day. Use a foam roller on the floor. The lacrosse ball is most effective if you use it while leaned up against a wall.
Meditation app and headphones. An opportunity to shut yourself down for a few minutes can sometimes be more important than exercise. If you take a break to listen to a meditation app or some soothing music, you will likely be much more productive.
Here’s what to do
Look at your day and find opportunities to take short breaks. It could be one 10-minute break in the morning and one in the afternoon. Add in a longer break at lunchtime and you have a good amount of time to get some exercise in. You could even get together with colleagues and take the breaks together so you’re less likely to skip it.
“You can find videos online to give you a routine to follow or watch this one we like,” says Thoman.
If you take time to exercise at work, you are much more likely to hit your goals.
“Most people struggle just as much to fit in exercise once they leave work,” says Thoman. “So if you can fit in small breaks throughout your day there’s not as much exercise or activity you need to do after you leave.”
Extra exercise tips
Knowing yourself also is important as you choose when to do your exercise. If you are a morning person, try to get it done as early as possible because as the day goes on you will likely start to think of more excuses not to get it done.
“For people who are more active in the evening, telling them to get up early to exercise is almost nearly impossible, because they just won’t. They would rather sleep.” Thoman says.
Whatever time you exercise, if you can get it done, you will lower your risk of disease.