Whether you work from home or you’re back at the office, many Americans spend most of their day sitting. And all that sitting can mean you’re not getting as much movement into your day as you’d like.

According to the CDC, only 1 in 4 American adults gets enough exercise throughout the day. And many Americans have found it hard to maintain a healthy weight since the COVID-19 pandemic.

As our lifestyles have fundamentally changed, so too has our health. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get exercise at home and at the office that can be easy to implement — and even a little fun.

Here are some practical tips for building more activity into your daily routine and improve your health in the post-pandemic world.

Squeeze in a Walk (or 3)

The benefits of exercise tend to speak for themselves: Better sleep, focus during the day, and a decrease of serious illnesses and diseases.

Living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated. One of the easiest ways to get moving during your workday is to find time to walk.

Walking isn’t only a great way to get your blood pumping. It can also help you clear your mind and be more productive when you sit back down at your desk.

The best way to ensure walking becomes a part of your workday is to pencil it into your schedule. You can take a 30-minute walk before or after work or squeeze in three 10-minute walks in the morning, afternoon, or evening.

It’s an easy way to stay active while working at home or at the office.

Make the Most of Your Workspace

You might think you have to have a gym membership to exercise regularly. But there are countless ways to incorporate office exercises into your day, no matter how small it may seem.

Here are some simple exercises to do at your desk, either with hand weights or using your body weight:

Desk Pushups

  1. Move your chair away from your desk
  2. Face your desk and place your hands on the edge of your desk at shoulder width
  3. Lower yourself until your chest nearly reaches the desk, and push yourself back up
  4. Do 10 reps and rest. Repeat 3 times

Desk or Chair Side Planks

  1. Stand straight and place one arm against the edge of your desk or chair
  2. Raise the opposite arm up to the ceiling
  3. Hold for 30 seconds
  4. Repeat on the other side

Desk Donkey Kicks

  • Standing up, face your desk and lean against it while keeping in a straight line
  • Bend your knees and kick back one leg as far as you can
  • Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower your leg down with control
  • Repeat for 12 reps on each side

Tricep Dips

  • Place a chair (without wheels) behind you
  • Place your palms on the chair with your fingers facing you
  • Lower yourself down, heels on the ground and legs forward
  • Push yourself back up
  • Do 10 reps and rest. Repeat 3 times

When it comes to staying active while at work, the sky’s the limit. Whether you do leg lifts during a conference call, break up responding to emails with wall sits, or keep a pair of hand weights in your drawer for mid-morning bicep curls, you’d be surprised just how convenient exercising in the office can be.

Schedule a Walking Meeting

Since working remotely is more common than ever, so are conference calls and phone meetings. Instead of sitting behind your desk during these calls, why not walk while you talk?

Here are some ways to help you hold a successful walking meeting:

  • Keep it Small: It’s easier to communicate one-on-one with an employee or client you already have an existing relationship with than trying to speak to a group or someone new on a walk.
  • Make Listening a Priority: Plan walking meetings when you’ll be engaged in casual conversations, light brainstorming, or will be primarily listening to others speak.
  • Consider Surroundings: Choose a location that isn’t too busy or noisy. The fewer distractions the better.
  • Prioritize Wi-Fi: Be sure to stay close to Wi-Fi if your service isn’t reliable.

Ditch Your Office Chair

Getting enough daily exercise can be a challenge for people who work at a desk all day. One way to ensure that you aren’t glued to your office chair all day is actually to get rid of it.

Using a standing desk is an effective way to improve your circulation and posture. Standing desks are surprisingly comfortable and have also been proven to improve energy levels and relieve back pain.

If you’re committed to sitting while you work, that’s fine too. You can swap out your work chair for a medicine or exercise ball. Doing so can help strengthen your core, stretch muscles, and burn extra calories.

Use Your Lunch Break

Your lunch break is the perfect opportunity to fit in some physical activity. If you don’t have time to go to the gym or complete a full office workout, you can find other ways to get your heart rate up while grabbing a bite to eat.

Here’s some ideas to get you started:

  • Walk or bike to your favorite lunch spot.
  • Go up and down the stairs a set number of times before returning to your office.
  • If you work from home, take your dog for a walk around the block.
  • If you enjoy watching television to decompress on your break, do stretches, wall sits, planks, pushups, or sit ups while you watch.

Embrace the Buddy System

Having someone to hold you accountable can make a big difference in living a healthy lifestyle — especially in the workplace. To make staying active fun, invite a friend or colleague to get active with you.

Whether you choose to walk together on your lunch breaks, hit the gym after work, or simply check in to let the other know how your workout plan is going, the buddy system can be an invaluable asset in staying active in the long run.

Make a Plan

The best way to build more activity into your workday is to create a plan that works for you.

Exercise routines and workout equipment are only helpful if you’ll actually use them. Be sure to find activities that are feasible in the space and time you have available to make staying active a regular part of your normal workday.

Try out different kinds of exercise until you find what works for you. Walking, swimming, yoga, free-weights, hiking, dancing — the options are unlimited!

myCallADoc Can Help You Get Your Health Back on Track

We know 2020 was a rough year for so many reasons. It’s understandable if you haven’t been able to prioritize your health in the same way during the pandemic.

We’re here to help. Keeping your body healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

Discover 6 ways telemedicine can save you money and keep you healthy this year >

This article is not intended as medical advice. Always check with your doctor before embarking on a new health and wellness plan.

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