Today is National Fitness Day 2019, which got us thinking about ways we can all incorporate exercise into our daily lives. Fitness Day is an annual event that usually takes place on the last Wednesday of September. The aim being to encourage the nation to get moving, be more active and celebrate what fitness means to them. The ultimate objective being to emphasise the positive role physical activity plays in health and long-term wellbeing. Unfortunately, in reality, incorporating exercise into our busy, working lives can be challenging.
Many people find it hard to motivate themselves to walk to the local shop, never mind frequent the gym. However, with reports of an increasingly inactive nation (inactivity being categorised as doing less than 30 minutes of exercise per week), and the growing health risks associated with this, it is a very real issue.
We’re lucky that one of our perks here at Greybridge is free gym membership. The gym is a two-minute walk around the corner, so we really have no excuse not to go. Even then it can be hard to find the time to incorporate exercise into our working day.
Stress is often cited as a silent killer and exercise advocated as an effective way of combating stress-related illnesses. So it’s somewhat ironic that it’s often people working in a more stressful environment, who can’t seem to find the time to exercise.
We’re not claiming to be fitness experts. We often find it challenging to make time for exercise, especially when working long hours and juggling work and home life. Here are some of our tips on how we try to keep fit:
1) Change Your Mindset
It’s easy to think of taking part in exercise as a luxury. Something to do if you have a bit of spare time or can muster up enough energy. The truth is, physical activity needs to be incorporated into your daily routine as stringently as sleeping and eating. If you think you can’t find the time, you won’t. It doesn’t have to cost you anything or take up too much of your time. As long as you are getting sufficient sleep (approximately 7 hours per night) then it is actually more beneficial to get up earlier and exercise, than get that extra 30 minutes of shut-eye.
2) Do Exercise That Actually Doesn’t Feel Like Exercise
The trick is to incorporate physical activity into your everyday routine. This way it doesn’t feel like hard work or impossible to achieve. Getting off the bus or tube one stop earlier, parking your car slightly further away from work and taking the stairs, can all make a big difference.
3) Nag Your Work Colleagues
Dragging yourself away from your desk can be difficult, especially if you are on a tight deadline or have a meeting to prepare for. We seriously wouldn’t make it to the gym (despite it being a perk) if we didn’t encourage each other to go. For lots of people, exercising with someone else can be more motivating and encouraging. If not the gym, then a walk around the block, to the shops or even the park. This all count towards clocking up those daily steps. Taking a breather from your desk not only helps clear your head and enables you to refocus but is also an effective way of reducing those stress levels.
4) Wear a Fitness Tracker
There’s nothing like a bit of competition…with yourself. Keeping a track of what you are doing, even if it just a simple pedometer to count steps and distance completed is a great way to make sure you are staying active throughout the day. Wearing one can be a real eye opener and could be the encouragement you need to take that lunchtime walk. A few of us wear fitbits in the office (an idea for the Christmas wishlist perhaps) and can monitor each other’s activity. It’s great for a bit of harmless competitiveness, team building and spurring each other on.
5) Get Your Boss Onside
It really is in every business owners’ interest to encourage employees to take a break during the day, get outside for fresh air and/or take part in a gym class. Fitter people are less likely to catch those office bugs floating around and take time off sick. They are also more likely to have higher energy levels, remain focused and achieve more in their working day. Less absenteeism can only have a positive impact on the bottom line, so why wouldn’t you encourage a fit and healthier workforce?
As mentioned earlier, we’re not fitness experts but we do understand the importance of doing some physical activity during our working day. We’re lucky to have a boss and company culture that encourages this but we know this unfortunately isn’t always the case. Just make sure you start introducing small changes to your every day routine and most importantly, change your mindset towards exercise.
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