When Working Out Isn't Working Out at the Workplace
Added: Tue. Jul 05, 2011 5:37pm
Posted in: Fitness
Do you spend more waking hours at the office than at your home? If you add the time spent commuting and accomplishing routine tasks (fixing meals, doing laundry, buying groceries and paying a few bills), are you hard-pressed to find time to work out?
If you’re like most families, weekend schedules are also jam-packed. Family gatherings, cleaning, shopping, car maintenance and the myriad of other errands required to run a household quickly fill the two-day break. Before you’ve even caught your breath, it’s Sunday night, and you’re facing another demanding week.
Americans work harder than citizens of most other countries. Workers in only two countries (Japan and Australia) put in more hours than Americans do. Compounding a demanding work schedule is a reluctance to take vacation.
Is it any wonder, then, that workers struggle to find time to exercise the recommended 60 minutes per day? Or that they suffer from poor posture, eye strain, lower back pain and surplus weight?
Here are nine low-cost tips that you and your employer can introduce to make your workplace more fitness friendly:
1. Bike to work or park your car at the farthest practical point from the office so that you are forced to begin and end your day with exercise.
2. Pack a healthy lunch. Besides saving money, you’ll avoid tempting restaurant fare that tends to pack on pounds.
3. Schedule “walk and talk” meetings outdoors. Take along a pen and pad or a handheld recorder so you can note key items.
4. Replace sugar-filled refreshments (doughnuts, cookies and pastries) at meetings with fruit, veggies and water and ask that vending machines include fruit and baked chips.
5. Wear a pedometer and pace the floor during phone calls.
6. Convert the well-lighted stairway—complete with art, photographs and bulletin boards—into your personal StairMaster.
7. Include health tips in company newsletters and feature the profiles of employees who are making significant lifestyle changes.
8. Make a date with a colleague to walk at least 30 minutes during your lunch break.
9. Set up weight-loss challenges between departments or groups of employees and announce the prize as a healthful luncheon cooked by the runners-up.
Begin with these ideas, but don’t stop there. For a demonstration of additional exercises you can do at your desk, go here.
By eating nutritious food and moving more, you’ll decrease your feelings of stress and fatigue. And as an added bonus, you’ll lift your spirits.
Best of all, fitness is contagious. If you are willing to cultivate a fitness mentality at your workplace, you’ll find others joining in. Their participation will, in turn, reinforce your own commitment. You’ll help create a workplace environment that emphasizes teamwork, fun, sharing and caring—and, in the process, improves everyone’s health and well-being.
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