It’s about that time of year when we all get a little antsy. The weather is warming up, the sun is coming out, and we long to be outside as much as possible. For those of us in the Midwest, spring + summer are treasured blessings that we must take advantage of!
At last, we can take our fitness outside again and break up with the treadmill in favor of running trails. We can return to al fresco lunching and walking breaks during the workday. Take advantage of the beautiful weather by sneaking in some activity while at work!
1. Take your lunch break
This cannot be overstated. You have a right to a break, and you most certainly should take it. A physical and mental break in your day not only provides you with some much-needed breathing room, but it will help ensure optimal efficiency + productivity for the rest of your work day. Not to mention a perfect time to get a health dose of activity!
The best thing to do is to leave your work space and get outside. Even just a few minutes of walking around the block can have a major positive impact on your day. Tip: keep walking or running shoes at work so you’re always ready to hit the pavement. If feasible, you can use your break to be active and then return and eat lunch while you work.
Another options is to scope out some outdoor dining options in the area, preferably those a short walk away. You could walk to a park, bench, table, etc. and enjoy your lunch in the sunshine (while making some vitamin D) and then head back into the office. If you’re picking up lunch, choose a restaurant that requires you to walk a little way from your office.
2. Move once an hour
Research shows that those who move throughout the day have better health outcomes than those who sit all day, irrespective of formal exercise. In other words, even if you work out (such as going for a morning run or hitting the gym after work), you still need to make sure you’re active during the day. People who work out in the morning and then sit all day tend to have greater disease risk than those who don’t work out but are moving around all day long.
While nurses, teachers, and food service employees are naturally active during their working hours, many of us are not. Those of us who work desk jobs have to make an effort to include movement in our workdays.
Getting up and moving around every hour can help reverse the negative effects of sitting all day. Have you heard that sitting is as dangerous as smoking? Prolonged sitting is associated with increased risk for heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and mortality.
Ideas for moving once an hour:
-Go to the restroom
-Refill your water/coffee/tea
-Walk to a coworker to talk instead of calling/emailing
-Go outside and take 5 deep breaths of fresh air
-Do some stretching or yoga movements
-Do some at-your-desk fitness exercises
-Do some squats, planks, wall-sits, and push-ups
3. Stay hydrated
Hydration has profound effects on how we function, both mentally and physically. In order to maintain focus + energy at work, we must stay hydrated. The easiest way to achieve this is to keep a container of fresh water at your work station at all times. For some people this is an easy habit, but for others, you may have to set alarms to remind yourself to drink up.
If you’re bored with water, we are coming into iced tea season! You could also bring fresh cut fruit to work to add some natural fun flavoring to your water.
Bonus for getting up and walking the long way around the office to refill your water container. To be kind to the earth, be sure to bring a reusable container from home!
For more tips, check out this article I wrote on starting a wellness program at work, anyone can do it!
How do you stay well at work? Share in the comments below!