Anyone who works a 9-to-5 job knows how difficult it can be to fit exercise into your schedule. Not everyone can wake up at the crack of dawn for a morning run, and by the time your exhausting workday is over, it’s either time to unwind at happy hour or the couch is calling your name. Scheduling in a yoga class or hitting the treadmill may be possible a few times a week, but with a busy schedule, getting a workout in everyday can be a challenge.
Just because you’re busy, though, doesn’t mean you have to let your workout habits fall by the wayside. Doctors recommend getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, so if you can spread that out, it doesn’t seem THAT daunting.
While not everyone has the leisure of leaving work midday for a quick workout class, there are little things you can do to get your body going while you’re on the job — and no, that doesn’t mean you have to do squats in the middle of a conference room. To help you stay in shape while making your living, we’ve come up with a list of seven ways that you can sneak in exercise while you’re at work.
1. Take a walk at lunch
Most people get around an hour for lunch break, so take a portion of that time to get moving. Even taking just 20 minutes to take a brisk walk has been shown to have positive health effects, including decreasing your risk of premature death.
2. Do some desk stretches
For inconspicuous exercises you can do at your desk, try lifting and lowering your straightened legs repeatedly without touching the floor. This will strengthen and tone your thighs. For some booty work, squeeze and release your buttocks repeatedly to fire up those glutes.
3. Always take the stairs
It can be tempting to always hit the elevator button, but taking the stairs will help you fit in some cardio. Between arrival, lunchtime, meetings, and heading home, all those steps you take will be sure to add up.
4. Stand at your desk
You may get some weird looks, but standing at your desk is a great way to reduce the risks of prolonged sitting, which include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. If you’re really feeling up to it, you could even buy a standing desk and commit to a full day of being on your feet.
5. Change how you commute
If it’s possible, bike to work instead of driving. Not only does walking or biking to work help keep you active, but studies have found that those who don’t drive to work are less stressed and are more able to concentrate throughout the day. If biking or walking isn’t possible, try parking your car farther away from the office or get off at an earlier metro stop to sneak in some extra steps.
6. Work your abs
Even a simple and subtle seated exercise can help tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles. Plant your feet on the ground and sit up straight. Squeeze your belly button towards your spine and hold this position, tightening and contracting your abdominal muscles until you get tired. Repeat throughout the day for maximum results.
7. Stop emailing and make face-to-face interactions
Not only will it feel great to socialize throughout your day, but moving up and down and walking across your office will have you getting close to your daily workout minimum in no time. Bonus: you’ll get a super quick response!