Finding Your Hidden Exercise Opportunities
If you exercise for fitness, good for you. But if you spend the rest of your time behind a desk or lounging in an easy chair, you're missing some important benefits of physical activity.
"Your body -- and you -- function best in an active state," says George J. Pfeiffer, president of the Workcare Group in Charlottesville, Va. "The more often you get up and get moving, the better you will feel and the more productive you will be."
Even a few minutes of extra activity, such as walking around the block at lunchtime, will help you feel more alert, reduce your stress and increase your energy. "You will also burn calories -- maybe just a few at a time, but they all add up," Mr. Pfeiffer says.
Keeping active also helps you stick with your regular fitness program because exercise becomes part of your lifestyle, not a special event.
Exercise your attitude
To make exercise a natural part of your life, Mr. Pfeiffer suggests you look for opportunities to keep moving throughout the day, not just during scheduled workouts. Ask yourself, "How can I walk a few more steps?" not, "Where's the nearest chair?"
You can spot exercise opportunities almost everywhere when you look for them. These ideas will get you started.
On your way to work
• Get off the bus a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way.
• Park your car in the farthest space available. A bonus: You save the time you would spend looking for a closer spot.
• If it's not too far and there's a safe route, ride a bicycle or walk to work a couple of days a week.
• Do a few quick stretches before entering your office building. Then straighten your shoulders, hold your head high and walk briskly to your workstation.
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
• Take the long route to the cafeteria, water fountain and restrooms, walking briskly.
• Get up and move around if you're stuck on a problem or need an idea. Take a walk, go copy a document or tidy up your office.
• Keep a soft rubber ball in your desk to flex your hands while you're seated.
• Stretch while standing in line at the cafeteria or copy machine.
At home and play
• Take a walk before or after dinner.
• Buy a jump rope and keep it where you can easily use it.
• Get a dog and take charge of walking it.
• Use an exercise bike or stair climber while watching television.
• Play active games outside with your children.
• Spread out chores that require physical activity -- such as vacuuming or grocery shopping -- throughout the week so you're doing something every day.
On the road
• Walk at airports; don't use shuttles or moving walkways.
• When waiting at airports, walk the concourse instead of sitting in a restaurant or at the gate.
• When driving, stop every couple of hours to stretch your legs, back and upper body.
• Stretch your shoulders and neck at red lights.
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