health STAY FIT AT WORK BY SAM ERICKSON With busy, hectic lives, it’s tough to carve out time to exercise. Even 15 minutes a day can seem overwhelming in the midst of commuting, work and family commitments. The good thing is that you can do the minimum amount of exercise recommended in only 15 minutes a day. Most people spend 8-10 hours at work, and there’s plenty of opportunity to get your exercise in at work. While some people turn to coffee or energy drinks for that extra afternoon jolt, a little exercise can energize your body the natural way. Very few people need an entire hour to eat lunch. Many take that time to run errands or make phone calls, but there’s no reason why you can’t take that time to exercise. Keep a pair of tennis shoes at the offi ce or in your car and plan on heading out for a brisk walk when the weather permits a couple of times each week. If your offi ce has a place where you can shower and change, then you are really lucky. You can head out and do just about anything—work out at a nearby gym or go for a run or a quick bike ride. One easy way to get some work on your body’s core is to replace your offi ce chair with an exercise ball. Chairs often encourage people to slouch, and bad ergonomics can lead to sore muscles and joints. An exercise ball requires consistent, minor adjustments from your body, improving posture as you go along. You can also keep a fi tness band or two at your offi ce. These take up very little space and can be used in short bursts. You can do a few shoulder stretches or bicep curls every time you send an email or complete a short project. Even if you are in a small cubicle, there’s enough space to get your body moving. You can march in place and push your hands over your head for 10 minutes to get your heart pumping. Shadowboxing with alternate hands while you shift weight from foot to foot will also get the body started. If you want to work on your arms, put your back to the chair, your feet on the fl oor and your hands on the edge of the chair, moving up and down with the arms to work the triceps. Any repetitive motion like these can help you on the road to fi tness and you can increase or decrease the intensity based on how your body is feeling. Keeping your body active at work is also good for the mind. The natural endorphins released by exercise can make you more focused and more productive. A few deep knee bends before a meeting can get that blood fl owing again, and the time it takes to make copies can be used to practice basic yoga poses. The secret to staying fi t during your work hours is to have a plan and to be prepared. Nothing is better to keep you committed to your goals than a coworker who is willing to work out with you. Many workplaces have even made exercise and weight loss into a competition to provide extra motivation. Just about anywhere you work, you can fi nd time and space to make small changes and improve your overall fi tness level.
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