Whether you're a stay-at-home mama or corporate executive, fitting in exercise into an already slammed workday can be a challenge.
We all know getting in movement and cardiovascular exercise and/or stretching is beneficial and crucial to our health, but how do we do that when it feels like we have no time?!
Did you know that the Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week plus two days of muscle-strengthening activity? That number can seem a bit overwhelming for the average mama who works full-time outside of the home or mama who doesn't pack regular fitness classes or long mile runs into their daily routine.
BUT! Try to break that stat down and look at what you can do each day; how can you sneak it into your already jam-packed workday?
Hint: it doesn't necessarily need to be hour-long HIIT classes at your local gym or 10-mile runs before work at 4am (but if that's your thing...good on ya!).
You can easily sneak in bursts of movement and activity right into your regular workday....yep, we promise!
Doing so not only helps you meet the CDC's recommended activity time, but your body and mind will thank you for breaking up your workday tension and giving you an extra energy boost to get through that 3 p.m. slump - whether it's emotional, physical, or both. Plus, let's be real; as moms, we can use any extra boosts of energy we can get, especially to make it through dinner and bath-time and bedtime routines.
Here are 5 of our fav hacks for getting in movement while on the job:
(Remember - any activity that gets you moving counts, but doing 10-minute increments at a moderate intensity can greatly increase the health benefits.)
1. If you have a desk job, stand up every 30 minutes. "I had back surgery last year, and my physical therapist and my surgeon both told me that sitting is the absolutely worst position for lower back pain/injury/sciatica. My PT told me it's crucial I walk at least one mile during the work day and stand for a minimum of 30 seconds every 30 minutes. This helps get blood flow back into the body, which can help give life to nerves and muscles, "feeding them" to help repair damaged nerves especially." - Shelley. Also consider investing in an ergonomic work station; you can purchase a sit-stand desk or desktop accessory, accessory to raise your laptop, and use a mouse and a keyboard instead of the one on your laptop. This helps prevent neck pain and damage to your wrists, arms, and hands. It's also super important to take short breaks away from your computer to protect your eyes and prevent headaches. Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day, too, to keep your body hydrated! If you want to do more than just stand, you can add in simple movements like calf-raises, side leg-lifts, and/or knee-lifts. Try adding in a few squats or lunges, and your muscles and brain will thank you.
2. If you're not on your feet all day at work, use your breaks to get movin'....instead of scrolling through your Instagram and Facebook feeds in your office's break-room on your two 10s (or whatever your state's legal breaks are), consider heading to the stairwell or going for a brisk walk outside of your office. If you have a quick check-in with your boss or another employee, ask if you can do it on a walk and kill two birds with one stone.
3. This is a less obvious one, but consider changing up your commuting routine. Hear us out...Whether you drive, take the train, or carpool (get your carpool buddies to join you!), you can add in a brisk walk before and after work by parking further away, or getting off the bus or train one stop early. This adds extra cardio into your day before and after work, and you'll be closer to that 150-minute week recommendation in no time! Plus, enjoying fresh air, soaking up vitamin D, connecting with nature (or maybe hearing city sounds) can help reduce anxiety and give your mind a mental work-load break by connecting with sunshine, sounds, and taking a break from digital screens.
4. Find accountability buddies. Invite co-workers or friends who work elsewhere to join you on a fitness app where you can track activity; make a fun competition out of it! Also, many corporate workplaces offer extra benefits, bonuses, or discounts if you meet certain health goals through certain health programs/insurance companies. Ask your HR department if anything like that exists in your corporate workplace. OR, do you work down the hall with someone you regularly communicate with via phone or email? Get some extra steps in by walking to a co-worker’s desk and speaking in person instead of picking up the phone or drafting an email when you just need a short answer to something.
Photo via Unsplash
5. Stretch and incorporate gentle body movements. There are some easy ways to move your body even while you sit at your desk. Rolling and/or stretching your ankles, wrists, and neck can be a great wake up. You can also tap your feet, extend your legs, and roll your shoulders. Set reminders or an alarm to remind yourself to stretch out, wake up, and move; even if you’re still at your desk! (This tactic works well for #1 too!)