We all have busy, ever-changing schedules. We all know how important exercise is. So why is it so hard to stick to any sort of routine? Inconvenience, frustration, and lack of overall motivation generally contribute to our ever-growing list of reasons not to exercise. To make matters worse, office jobs are highly sedentary. Over time, our bodies become efficient performing daily tasks. As a result, metabolism slows, energy levels decline, and very few calories are expended carrying out these tasks. The reality is that we are a product of our work environment. After all, where do we spend most of our time? At the office. To promote long-term lifestyle change, we need to take a big picture approach to health and well-being. We need to determine not only what works for you, but also what’s manageable. So how can we begin to break down those barriers that have previously prevented you from realizing your true potential? Let’s talk about how you can get in your workout at work.
1) Make the easy decisions first
For women in business, what’s the number one reason for lack of activity? Not enough time. The first step is deciding to put you first. Remember, exercise is cumulative. There are always ways to increase your level of activity. It could be as simple as taking a walk during your lunch break, choosing to take the stairs over the elevator, or parking your car a little further away. It all adds up. As career oriented, highly driven people, it’s difficult to fathom finding the time to commit to regular activity. That’s why this has to be a process. Routines don’t just occur instantaneously. They occur with proper planning and the will and determination to overcome obstacles. Many times, these obstacles present themselves as stressful situations or inconsistencies in our day. Everyone responds a little differently to these situations. Some eat more, some eat less…most put exercise on the back burner. It’s time to fix that.
2) Start to take back control
There are many ways to place stress on the body. The body is designed to adapt and conform to these external stressors, over time. Some changes, like building muscle, are positive. Others, like emotional eating, are highly detrimental. Again, we’re thinking big-picture approach here. So, what about the constant stress that’s incurred sitting at a desk all day? What are the long-term implications? Our shoulders are rounded and our core is essentially inactive… all predecessors for chronic lower back pain. Does this sound like you?
Try this: Bring your right arm overhead and place your palm on your upper back. Bring your left arm behind you, placing the back of your palm on your lower back. Try and touch fingertips. How close can you get? Is one side different than the other?
3) This Month’s Routine – Two simple chair exercises!
Side and Back Bends: Stretch the arms straight up overhead. Gently bend to the left as far as you can, contracting the abs. Slowly come back to center and repeat to the right. Complete 10 reps, every 2-3 hours. Finish by reaching back up towards the ceiling, and dropping your arms back behind you, really opening up the chest over the chair.
Ab Twists: Hold your arms out at chest level, interlacing the fingers. Find a nice, upright posture and gently turn to the left as far as you can, feeling the abs contract as you exhale. Twist back to center on the inhale and move to the right for a total of 10 reps, at least 2x per day.
Time to get moving and start to assess how you feel! Next month, we’ll introduce strength training!
With a passion for motivating and guiding others, Justin is certified as a personal trainer, a strength & conditioning specialist, and as a Spin® and TRX® instructor. His philosophy is that personal training should encompass and promote all aspects of a healthy lifestyle.