How to Get Your Blood Pumping During the Workday
Just a few minutes of movement makes a difference, says Bowflex Fitness Advisor Tom Holland, which is why squeezing a workout onto your work calendar should be feasible. "A recent study showed health benefits from doing three minutes of exercise every 30 minutes throughout the day," notes the certified physiologist and author of The Micro-Workout Plan ($10.49, amazon.com). "Replicate this research by doing a few minutes of activity every half hour or hour, such as walking around the office, doing a few sets of bodyweight squats, or walking stairs for a few minutes." These simple movements, he says, will "get you out of your chair and get your blood flowing, conferring numerous physiological and psychological benefits."
Ahead, how to fit more activity into your workday—plus, a few exercises to try to get you started.
Working from home? Try a few bodyweight exercises at your desk.
Bodyweight exercises are particularly effective, notes Holland, and can be done anywhere and anytime; what's more, they can be modified for virtually any fitness level. "Three of these moves include squats, planks, and push-ups, and all the myriad variations thereof," he explains. "Bodyweight cardio is also a great option, such as running in place, performing jumping jacks, and side-to-side skaters." And if you're looking for a quick class you can take at home? "Bowflex has numerous short equipment-free workouts on their YouTube channel that you can follow along to, including the Six-Minute Standing Ab Workout (with almost 13 million views!) and the Five-Minute Cardio Blast Workout," he shares.
If you're in the office, take phone calls on the go or squeeze in a lunchtime session.
However open your office's floor plan, it might not be feasible to drop into push-up position desk-side. Instead, consider joining a nearby gym and scheduling a few lunchtime sessions during the week, advises Holland—or, walk and talk (who says conference calls have to be desk bound?). If your company has some free space, consider "keeping a set of dumbbells, a kettlebell, or exercise bands under your desk to squeeze in quick micro workouts when you have a few free minutes," he shares.
You don't have to sweat—or even change your clothes.
"Most people don't want to work up a sweat during the workday, and you don't have to," shares Holland, who suggests avoiding high-intensity exercises, like burpees, and focusing instead on low-level cardiovascular movement and basic sets. "These provide valuable health benefits without the need to change your clothes or shower."
Focus on frequency, not duration.
Simply commit to moving more while you're at work—the duration or intensity of the movement matters less, affirms Holland. "Realize that minutes truly matter," he says. "Set a reminder to do short micro workouts every half hour or hour throughout the day and stick to this schedule." And if you're searching for ways to keep yourself on track? Find a like-minded colleague or two, who will commit to doing these sessions with you—schedule a few lunchtime walks, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or squeeze in a two-minute core series to break up the day, concludes Holland.