By Haley Shaw
Exercise is a fundamental factor in ensuring that your body is fit and healthy. Exercise increases strength and helps you avoid sickness that might prevent you from working. As an added bonus, you may become more confident with how you look. According to Harvard Health Letter Executive Editor Heidi Godman, “The common reasons to be physically active include: reducing the odds of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Maybe you want to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, prevent depression, brain fog, or just look better.” Although there are several benefits, many legal professionals still fail to incorporate exercise into their schedule, often because they are extremely busy with work.
If you are one of these busy people with a demanding schedule, try to find time to do some quick and easy exercises. The best part? To complete these exercises, you do not need to go to the gym. In fact, some of these exercises you can do while you are in your office. For instance, you may get up and walk around the office every now and then, to take a break (remember the 90-second rule from my August article). You can even walk around the office while reading over documents, conducting phone calls, or researching a topic.
Continue reading to discover 10 more ways that busy professionals can manage exercise during the work day effectively.
You do not need a gym to get your act together. By using your own weight in resistance training (like push-ups), you can shed pounds without a gym.
The tabata workout regimen simply requires you to alternate short bursts of high intensity workouts and short rest periods. It works for cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and bodyweight resistance training. The most common tabata protocol includes 20 seconds ON; 10 seconds OFF. Beginners complete 4 sets (2 minutes); advanced complete 8 sets (4 minutes).
As stated earlier, the easiest way to burn calories is to stand and walk around the office. Standing alone burns 50 calories more than just sitting in your office chair. Remember the smart work trend from my August article: take short breaks throughout the day to disconnect. At least a 90-second break will allow you to be more present in your next meeting, court attendance, or even for your social life outside of work.
The Six Floors Rule simply states, take the staircase if you’re going up less than six floors. Are you down for the challenge? Climb stairs instead of taking the elevator to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Who knows, you may even beat the people in the elevator!
Another way to combine physical activity with your work is to ride a bike or walk to work. Taking public transport is also good, especially if you walk or stand for most of the trip.
Push-ups are not always the easiest thing to do, but they are one of the best resistance training exercises, and you can do them even in a small space. If performing a push-up on your feet is too challenging at first, start on your knees, or perform incline push-ups on a bench, chair, or wall. Once you feel confident, complete as many as you can on your feet. Start by aiming for 5. Add 5 more repetitions each time, and see how many you can complete in 60-seconds.
Crunches are one of the easiest workouts to do almost anywhere. Crunches are similar to sit-ups, except you only lift your shoulder blades off the ground, instead of your entire upper half. Crunches help tighten your core muscles, especially your abdomen. A strong core helps alleviate low back pain, helps with perfecting your posture, and helps you fit into those jeans, jacket, or that dress you have wanted to fit into for a while.
Starting in push-up position, mountain climbers rapidly engage your core muscles as you drive each knee forward to your chest as fast as possible. It is a plyometric exercise that engages your entire body. Mountain climbers will slim your midsection, strengthen your arms, and build your leg muscles simultaneously.
Just like in elementary gym class, jumping jacks is one exercise that everybody knows how to do. Start off with jumping jacks as a warm-up before beginning your exercise routine.
Squats are an exercise that engages your whole body. It is like sitting repetitively but without a chair to sit on. Again, it helps tighten your core muscles and give you more balance and mobility.
Each exercise outlined above focuses on two common principles: core strength/stability, and movements you can complete throughout your day—while at work, or on your commute to work. Whatever exercise and motivators you choose, commit to establishing exercise as a habit, almost like taking a regular medication. After all, they say that exercise is medicine, and that can go on the top of anyone’s list of reasons to move the body.
Haley Shaw owns Amp Up Fitness and works with MSBA to provide health and fitness content to members. She may be reached at Haley@AmpUpFitness.com.