Make Way for Fitness

Finding creative ways to squeeze fitness into the busy work day.

Face it: We’re busy—at home, at work, and everywhere in between—and, for most of us, there’s little time left over for fitness. If you feel like you couldn’t possibly squeeze one more thing into your day, you’re not alone. Who has an extra hour to spend at the gym?

But what if your fitness didn’t have to have its own time slot? What if fitness could fit conveniently into the spaces of your daily routine?

Our ancestors didn’t need to spend time “working out” –their daily existence was work.  They plowed fields, chopped wood, and carried water. Their toned muscles were the well-earned reward of carving out a life rather than pumping iron in front of a mirror. Their cardiovascular fitness was the result of moving their bodies rather than sitting behind a steering wheel.

Your desk job may not provide the same opportunities for movement, but you can find a way to squeeze some activity into your day. Try these simple strategies:

  • Bike or walk to work. If this is possible for you, this is one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into your busy schedule. You’re combining your fitness and your transportation needs. You’ll not only feel great physically, but you’ll arrive at work with a positive mindset!
  • Park farther away from your office. If you can’t walk to work, this will help you squeeze a walk in before you arrive at your desk. You’ll not only burn calories and increase your cardiovascular fitness, you’ll carve out a few minutes before and after work for a little quiet contemplation – thereby helping you arrive at work with a clear mind and then leave work behind at the end of the day.
  • Take the stairs. You’ve heard it before—because it works. A couple of trips up and down the stairs each day add up. You’ll not only burn calories, you’ll rev your engine and feel an energy boost. If you work in the upper end of a skyscraper and this feels unrealistic, try taking the stairs partway. Make it your challenge to add an extra floor each week.
  • Trade your chair for a fitness ball. A fitness ball is the perfect substitute for a chair—it forces you to sit with healthy posture and engage your core muscles. The best part is that when you need a brain break, you can squeeze in a few sets of crunches. Keep a running tally of your daily crunches—you’ll be surprised how easy it is to fit in a little core work!
  • Utilize your lunch hour. Most of us don’t need a full hour to eat our lunch. Instead, use some of that lunch hour to get outside for a brisk walk or a jog. This will provide you with some fresh air and an energy boost to take you through the end of your day.