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Exercise and work: how to fit it all in your busy day

Tape Measure DumbellsAnother morning comes and you miss your alarm to get up to exercise. You get up, get dressed and head to work for another day. While you tell yourself that you’ll exercise AFTER work, you’re running late and still have to make dinner and get the children ready for bed. You make a deal that you’ll exercise AFTER you get the kids to bed but sit down for a minute on the sofa to catch your breath and turn on the television. Suddenly, you wake up two hours later with the television blaring and drool on your cheek. You muster up enough energy to make it to bed for the night. Another day comes and goes and no exercise. Do you beat yourself up or do you figure something out that WILL work for your lifestyle? You know you need to work out but just can’t find the time. You read all the Know and Go information and listen to all of the lectures but just don’t know how to fit it into your schedule. What if you figured out a way to do it AT work? It is do-able by following these easy tips.

1)       Walk, Walk, Walk Everywhere you can, get up and move! Park at the farthest spot out even if you’re running a little late – the jog in may just invigorate you and prepare you for your day. Take the stairs even if the elevator looks tempting. Get up and go talk to your colleague versus sending another email. Use your break to walk the halls of the hospital or clinic – you may eat less of the candy in the break room and relieve some stress at the same time. Schedule walking meetings to get your whole team involved. Just ask yourself over and over – could I walk instead?

2)       Stand up tall! Studies show that people who stand more will live longer. Stand up and talk on the phone. Talk to your supervisor about the possibility of an adjustable desk. Standing on one foot will even help you improve your balance at the same time. You may feel silly at first but, just think, you could be starting a trend in your department.

3)      Reach for the sky! Take a break from your computer and stretch for a few minutes a day – even better a few minutes an hour. This will cut down on those tension-related headaches, and allow you to bring those shoulders down where they belong (not by your ears) and improve your posture too.

4)      Reevaluate your workspace Maybe consider a balance ball chair and tone your core while you’re typing away. Pedal like crazy under your desk with a portable desk cycle. If that still isn’t enough to get you motivated, consider investing in a treadmill desk and you can walk your miles while sending all of those e-mails.

5)      Pump some iron Bring in a small weight set for your office or an exercise band to keep in your desk drawer. If you don’t have your own office, maybe check to see if you can keep some small equipment in the conference room in your department. Arrange a time with a buddy to meet in the Zone for a quick lunch break session. Weight-bearing exercise doesn’t just make you look good – it keeps you strong and helps to prevent injury.

6)      Team up to win Motivation always improves when you’re using the buddy system. If you have a friend at work that you love to catch up with over a soda in the cafeteria, talk her into joining you on your walk through the halls instead. Join one of the many challenges offered by our wellness coordinators. Good things really do come in pairs!

7)      Work that body!  Use your own body as your exercise machine. I can’t imagine anything more convenient or economical. Do circuits of jumping jacks, squats, lunges and plank, and you will start to notice your body is getting stronger every time you do it. Start all of your department meetings with even a few minutes of exercise and maybe your meeting will be a little more productive. Plus, you can all look a little silly together! Back to that team thing.

8)      Change the culture In the day of workplace wellness and health risk assessments, one would expect the culture to also change. Meaning – let’s make it acceptable for our peers to do jumping jacks in their cubicles and squats in the elevator while we’re taking the supply cart to the operating room. Let’s avoid giving the funny look to the nurse doing the walking lunges down the hall while prepping to pass medications. Let’s high five the colleague who is finally giving up his soda and choosing water instead. We are all here to promote quality healthcare and what better way to make Agnesian HealthCare stand out amongst the competitors than to have the healthiest employees in the Fox Valley. We ARE who we care for – as employees, as patients and as friends so let’s encourage each other.

So…no excuses allowed! Even if you hit snooze four more times, you can still find time to increase your physical activity while at work. If you do, you just may find that you’re sleeping better and don’t need to hit that snooze button after all.

 

About Heather Schmidt DO

Heather Schmidt is in Family Medicine at the Fond du Lac Regional Clinic West with Agnesian HealthCare. She graduated from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is also a healthy lifestyle coach.

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One Response to Exercise and work: how to fit it all in your busy day

  1. Kate Krantz March 10, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    Great post Dr. Schmidt! Now that the weather is getting nicer there are even more reasons to walk a little further and get up a little more. Thanks for the motivition.

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