You know you’ve uttered the words: “But I don’t have time to work out” to yourself dozens, if not hundreds, of times.
It’s OK, you don’t need a lot of time to fit in some exercise. You only need time to move a bit.
We’re going to show you how to find a few minutes to move your body enough to make a difference. There are a few times throughout the day when you can squeeze in a walk without disrupting your schedule. Think of it as “walking around the clock.”
The Monday Mile
Walking is not only an easy way to sneak in some cardio, it’s also an underrated form of exercise. Walking is easier if you have someone to talk to, and makes it feel more like a social activity than a workout. A great way to start walking while talking is a Monday Mile. You can either join an event that’s already taking place on Mondays, or create your own with your own group of friends or colleagues.
Here are a few ideas for getting a morning walk in:
• Park your car half a mile away from your destination.
• Get off the bus/subway a stop earlier and walk the extra distance.
• Set your alarm 20-30 minutes earlier so you can walk before getting ready for work.
If mornings don’t work for you or if you miss a morning, fear not, you can still get your recommended amount of physical activity.
Why lunchtime is a good time.
Studies have shown that a lunch hour stroll can leave one feeling more positive and enthusiastic. And we know that workers who are more positive and enthusiastic are more productive. If we use the algebra logic we all learned in school: if A=B and B=C, then A=C, then we can deduct that a walk at lunch can increase your productivity.
Most people suffer a drop in energy and work output in the afternoon hours. A perfect remedy is a mid-day walk.
Here are a few tips for a lunchtime walk:
• Walk to a nearby park. While you’re there, go for a walk in the park. Then of course, walk back.
• You could walk in whatever footwear you happen to wear to work or school, but a better idea is to change into walking or running shoes.
• You will be more consistent in walking if you have a lunchtime walking buddy. You won’t find as many excuses to skip your walk if your friend is ready to go.
It’s quitting time and your work day is done. You get up to leave and not only is it difficult standing up, but when you do finally do get up, you realize you have a lot less pep in your step.
That’s because you’ve been sitting behind a desk all day and there are risks associated with that.
One way to counter the effects of sitting in front of a computer screen all day is to go for a walk after work.
Poor circulation equals poor health.
Good circulation is necessary for all of our biological systems. Blood circulation delivers oxygen and helps eliminate waste. When circulation is bad you can experience tired legs, cold extremities and low energy levels. An easy way to boost circulation do an activity that increases your blood flow.
You don’t have to be a marathoner to get the blood pumping. Just 20 to 30 minutes of brisk walking can improve circulation. Longer walks can strengthen your heart and improve overall cardiovascular health, which is important for proper circulation.
Here are a few tips for an after work walk:
• If you parked your car half a mile away from your office in the morning you can now walk back to it.
• Get on the bus/subway a stop later and walk the extra distance.
• Start a Monday Mile that takes place during after-work hours. Morning isn’t the only time to conduct one.
Can’t squeeze a walk in before or during or after work? We’ve got you covered. You can still get in a walk later on in the day. Because no matter when you do it, walking is a good thing.
Dine and dash.
No, not eat your meal and leave without paying. Eat your meal and dash out for a walk. That is a great benefit of walking in the evening. You get to walk off your meal. A study showed that when older adults who were at risk for type-2 diabetes went for a walk after a meal, they experienced smaller blood sugar spikes in the time following the walk. How long did they walk? A mere 15 minutes.
Try a sleep walk.
Another benefit to an evening stroll is you’ll sleep better. Researchers don’t completely understand how physical activity improves sleep but, they do know that moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of slow wave sleep. Slow wave is deep sleep, where the brain and body have a chance to rejuvenate.
Here are a few tips for an evening walk:
• Be careful with headphones, they can prevent you from hearing traffic.
• Take the Fido (or whatever your dog’s name is) for a walk. They need exercise too and can keep you company while out for your after-work stroll.
• Wear reflective clothing in low light conditions. Hi-visibility jackets, pants and shoes with reflective material are a good idea if you walk at night.
Walking isn’t just a weekday activity. Weekends are a great time to go for a walk. For starters, you don’t have things like work and picking up / dropping off the kids consuming huge chunks of your day.
You also have the time to go for a walk at location that isn’t near your home or office.
Hit the dirt
On weekends you can chose a dirt trail as the place to go for a walk. The obvious added benefit here is the scenery. Exercising in nature can have a greater effect on physical and mental well-being than exercising indoors.
Take a long walk
Since walking during the weekend usually means having more time to complete the activity, it is the perfect time to get in a longer walk. When walking long remember to keep hydrated and you might also want to fuel up during the walk (snacks, protein bars, etc.).
Here are a few tips for a weekend walk:
• Try and walk early in the day so that when things pop up unexpectedly, they don’t ruin your chance to exercise.
• Check out walks for charity (cancer, heart disease, etc.)
Inclement weather options.
Raining or twenty below outside? Here are a couple ways to still get moving in the morning that don’t require being outside:
- Jumping Jacks. Stand with feet together, arms by your side. Jump your feet apart while raising your hands above your head, so they touch. Try and do 25.
- High knees. Basically, running in place. Lift your knees up level to your hips and start pumping your arms. One right and left knee equals one rep. Try to work up to 50.
- Stairs. Chances are your office has its own stair master. It’s in the form of a stair case. Start your routine slow by walking up a few flights, and be sure to take breaks when you need them. As you get more comfortable, add some speed to your routine, jogging up the stairs (make sure doing so is safe, and never run DOWN the stairs). As you build your strength, you can add more stairs and more speed.
- Office Squats. Stand in front of your chair, back facing the chair and legs shoulder-width apart. Shift so that your heels are bearing most of your weight (you can try wiggling your toes to make sure you’re in the right position). While keeping your back straight, with your knees above your feet, squat down so that you are just hovering above the chair, not touching or sitting in it. You can keep your hands together with your arms bent at the elbows. Straighten your legs to return to the starting position. Repeat the movement 10 – 15 times.
There you have it. Now you’re armed with enough information to Move It Monday anywhere and anywhen!