Lack of time is one of the top reasons people cite for skipping daily exercise. No matter who you are or what you do for a living, it seems as if everyone is busier these days. It’s easy to have work, family, social engagements and other responsibilities trump physical activity on the priority list.
If this sounds familiar, you need to get creative to fit in regular physical activity. By making small changes to your routine, it is possible to burn a considerable amount of extra calories, all while building strength and cardiovascular fitness. Here are some of the top research-backed methods to get fit at work—even if you are in front of a computer or pushing paper much of the day.
Research has shown that even small movements throughout the day add up when it comes to burning calories. This includes everything from walking to the water cooler a couple of extra times a day to getting up and moving around to organize your cubicle. Dubbed “nonexercise activity thermogenesis,” those small, seemingly insignificant movements can make all the difference.
Take the Stairs
Simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator each day can help you shed extra weight; you don’t even need to break a sweat. Studies have demonstrated that climbing a regular public-access staircase meets the minimum requirements for gaining cardiovascular benefits. While it may take you a couple of extra minutes to reach your desk each morning, you’ll be doing your body good—plus you’ll forego listening to that annoying elevator music.
Park Farther Away
Walking an extra several hundred meters from your car to the office every day can add up in terms of total step count, and research has shown that walking 10,000 steps each day can lead to weight loss. While that may sound like a lot, you’d be surprised by how quickly those steps add up when you’re purposeful about walking more.
Much attention has been paid recently to the detrimental effects of sitting for long periods of time. While many of us work wholly sedentary jobs, we can usually find excuses to stand and walk around more often. Striking up a conversation with a coworker down the hallway, taking an extra stroll to the copy machine, or grabbing a cup of coffee from the break room can all contribute to improved health outcomes.
If you have a brainstorming session or meeting planned with your colleagues, why not do it on the go? Walking and talking kills two birds with one stone by helping you get to that recommended step count. Walking has been shown to have the potential to have a large public health impact because it is accessible and doesn’t require any special skills or fancy equipment. What’s more, there is research that suggests that we are likely to exercise more when we have someone to do it with—and it’s a whole lot more fun to walk in the company of friends and colleagues.