Maintaining your exercise goals while having a full-time job can be a challenge.
There may be days when you aren’t able to take your run at lunch or hit the gym after work simply because you’re too busy. We’ve all been there before, but the trick is to not get discouraged. Instead of collapsing onto the couch for a pre-dinner nap when you get home, be proactive instead and find some alternative ways to fit exercise into your work day. It may take some getting used to, but it will definitely help you feel better and more accomplished at the end of the day.
Keep reading for our tips on sneaking a workout into your workday!
1. Turn Your Commute into a Workout
It’s entirely possible to turn commute time into exercise time. For example, if you live fairly close to your job, jogging and cycling are simple ways to give your day a cardio boost.
If you don’t have access to a shower afterward or are worried about arriving to work sweaty, pack a spare set of clean work clothes to change into when you get to the office. Of course, you can always take the safe road and walk. Just make sure to leave yourself enough time so you don’t arrive late!
If you live too far away to consider those options, try parking some distance from your office, or getting off the bus/subway a few stops early so you can walk the rest of the way.
While walking or cycling a few extra blocks seems like a low-impact workout, this small burst of early morning activity can still help elevate your heartrate, give you extra energy, and will give you a moment to clear your head before facing your busy workday.
2. Be a Stair Master
This may seem fairly obvious, but taking the stairs any chance you get is a great way to add a little exercise to your day. Sometimes it’s a reflex to walk over to the elevator and hop on, so adjust your habits gradually. To start, aim to take the stairs just once a day. After a week or so, increase your stair goal to twice a day, and so on. Make sure to take the stairs one at a time; research has shown that this burns more calories than taking them two at once! Who knew?
3. Swap Out Your Office Chair
A great way to improve your posture and tone your abs while you’re at work is to swap out your office chair for a stability ball. Since you’re just switching a chair, it’s an easy adjustment to make, and because you’re just sitting, it won’t even feel like you’re exercising. Instead, as you balance on the ball, you’ll have to steady yourself slightly with your core and make small adjustments that will work your abs without you even noticing!
If you think you’d be uncomfortable sitting on a stability ball for the entire day, slowly incorporate it into your routine. Start off with just an hour a day and switch between your normal chair and the stability ball at regular intervals. Additionally, stability balls are not only great for working your core, but they can help you improve your posture as well by forcing you to sit upright to balance. Your only challenge will be to avoid the impulse to bounce around the office on your stability ball!
4. Schedule Walking Meetings
Normally workplace meetings are held in offices, boardrooms, or coffee shops. In an effort to get yourself moving, suggest that you take your next scheduled meeting outside. Don’t just sit on a bench; take a walk around the block to add cardio to your day. Studies even suggest that walking leads to an increase of creative thinking and promotes peer-to-peer conversation. Just make sure to stick to small groups and avoid making your destination a source of unneeded calories.
5. Hydrate Often
We all know that drinking water has a ton of health benefits, like promoting weight loss, increasing energy, and flushing out toxins, but did you realize that drinking water can actually help you to get up more often during the day? Bring a reusable bottle with you to the office and set a goal to drink a certain amount each day. If you hydrate more often, you will be forced to get up more to refill your bottle, and to use the washroom. If you can, walk to a washroom on a different floor or one that’s furthest from you.
This is a subtle yet effective way to keep yourself moving, and can even help you refresh your train of thought by changing up your surroundings for a moment. You can make this exercise a team effort by creating a hydration tracking board in your office lunch room! Give your coworkers a fun sticker if they drink all 8 servings of water per day.
6. Wrangle in your Co-Workers
When it comes to exercising, having a buddy to work out with can make all the difference. Chances are there are people in your office who are interested in adding some exercise to their day too. Seek out those coworkers by sending out a survey over email to see who wants to join the exercise initiative and what they’re interested in doing. It could be something as simple as starting a step challenge, or you could take it a little further by joining an amateur sports league.
Having other people around you who share similar goals really helps to hold you accountable and keep you motivated. Moreover, playing a sport together or taking up a new class at the gym could help you make friends with your co-workers, or meet colleagues from different departments who you don’t know as well.
7. Keep it Simple
If you don’t mind doing subtle exercises around the office, get started! For example, if you’re sitting at your desk, flex or tighten your abs, hold for 30 seconds and then repeat 10 times. You can also complete the same process by squeezing your glutes. Been sitting at your desk for awhile? Take a minute to stand up and stretch, then take a short walk around the office. Is your coffee cup empty? Take the opportunity to do calf raises while you wait for a new pot to brew; if you drink several cups a day, you can do multiple sets. It all adds up!
Maintaining your exercise goals while having a full-time job doesn’t have to be a struggle. For the days when you’re unable to hit the gym after work or take a run at lunch, get creative in the office. Just keep these tips in mind for inspiration and you’ll be sure to stay on track!
Furthermore, you can stay on top of your exercise schedule by using a FitBit to track your activity or by simply writing down the exercise you get each day in an agenda or planner. A little exercise goes a long way to making you look, feel, and perform to the best of your ability.