During this time of the year, it’s so easy to break the cycle of the fitness routines that we worked so hard to develop during the spring, summer and even fall months. It’s just something about the cold weather, shorter days, and the busy season that causes us to forgo physical activity for a few days, weeks or even months!
Instead of waiting until January to make those new fitness resolutions, here are a few tips to ensure that physical activity remains a part of your routine as we close out the year:
- Take walks throughout the workday
- Dedicate ¼ of your lunch break to go for a walk (25 mins for a 1-hour break; 8 mins for a 30-minute break). It doesn’t typically take the entire lunch hour to actually eat, so while you are taking care of other things during lunch, strive to get a walk in as well. Start with aiming towards ¼ of the lunch break, and gradually increase the time as you see fit. Walking after a meal will boost your energy to help you power through the remainder of the day, and aid in the digestion of your meal.
- If possible, take a walk outside
- If the weather does not permit you to walk outside, take laps around your workplace. Figure out how many loops in and/or around your building equate to a mile and strive to walk 3-5 miles during the week while at work.
- Remember to use the stairs instead of the elevator when heading in and out of the building, especially when going for a walk! There must be some benefit from taking stairs or else the stair master wouldn’t be such a popular gym feature, right? In fact, walking up and down stairs comes with many health benefits. These benefits include: heart health improvement; increased muscle strength and power; and the release of endorphins (neurotransmitters making us feel happy) can aid as a mental health benefit (great for a stressful day!)
- Grab a buddy and get moving! If you don’t want to walk alone, there is probably at least one other person in the office feeling the same way. If you know who that person is, stop by their desk and ask them if they would like to go for a walk – the social interaction will bring even more health benefits. If you are feeling ambitious, start a walking group by inviting others on your team, on your floor, or throughout the building. Make walking the new workplace norm.
- Get up and STRETCH on the hour (“Deskercise”)
- Maybe walking, jogging and other forms of aerobics isn’t your thing – and that’s okay! Our bodies don’t respond well to sitting at our computers all day. Stretching benefits the body in so many ways: reduces muscle tension; increases range of movement in the joints; enhances muscle coordination; increases blood circulation in the body; increases energy levels. Check out this link to learn some easy stretches that you can incorporate into your day or this link for a few fun “deskercises”.
∞Incorporate physical activity into games played at family gatherings
- Let’s face it, this is the Holiday Challenge after all, which means there will be a ton of opportunities for family/friend gatherings. These gatherings don’t have to be centered solely around food though! What’s better than a good ole’ competition involving games, family, and friends? There are many games that you can play that will allow everyone to get up out of their seat and get moving and the chances are you’ll play these games for a few hours. Fun physical activity – fabulous! Check out the following list and try to include one at your next gathering – I promise, it will bring laughs, fun and some physical activity! The games don’t have to be expensive, you can write your own charade options down on cut out pieces of paper and put them in a hat. Also, be sure to check out the app store on your phone for low-cost options.
- Heads Up!