Small steps that can result in LARGE gains

address_your_stress

by Lucy Sternburgh, MS, RCEP Manager, Employee Wellness & Community Health Promotion

small_stepsOur lives can often be hectic and over-scheduled, which can make finding time to get the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week very challenging.  Holding down a job, spending time with family and friends,  and squeezing in time for a workout seems almost impossible for most of us – but don’t worry, it can be done!  Achieving a work/life balance that includes a physically active lifestyle is more feasible than you might think, and can go a long way in helping to relieve job stress.

Most people spend an estimated two-thirds of their waking hours at their place of employment. In order to stay healthy, we need to find ways to incorporate physical activity into our workday.  There are many easy opportunities to add physical activity to your day while at work.  The most important step you can take is to take a close look at your daily routine, and be willing to make some simple changes!

You might start by thinking about how you get to and from work.  Could you walk or bike on nice days? If you do rely on driving to work as your primary mode of transportation, where are you parking each day? Start thinking of the farthest parking spot as a golden opportunity to get some steps in on your way in to work each day!

As you enter in to your workplace, do you head to the elevator and press the button? Try to challenge yourself to “step-up” and take the stairs instead of the elevator, as often as you can. You are not only doing something great for your health, but you are also saving energy.

Lastly, take advantage of every opportunity to walk or stand, instead of sitting. Excessive and prolonged occupational sitting has been shown to be a serious health risk, regardless of how much exercise a person gets!

  • Walk down the hall instead of calling or sending an email.
  • Try standing when you take phone calls.
  • Consider trying a “walking” meeting… they are shorter and help increase energy levels.

The most important thing is to try to break up every hour of sitting, with some form of walking or standing. Your metabolism and energy levels will thank you.

The bottom line is there are lots of opportunities to move more throughout the workday. Sitting for long periods of time can rob us of our zest for life and leave us feeling lousy. The key is to start making small changes… in the end, they really add up!

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