There are only so many hours in the day, but it’s commonly accepted that daily exercise is the key to good health. Even just 30 minutes a day can be a boon. So on days when your work schedule means you struggle to even take a pee break, you should be even more concerned with getting in that workout.
(Photo Credit: Gordon Anthony McGowan/Flickr)
So why should you stick to that plan to get in some exercise even on a work day?
1. Manage That Stress Like a Pro
If you’re exercising regularly, your body is going to push out the jive and bring in the love. So it should be out with the gunk in your lungs and skin, in with the endorphins and smiles. You don’t have to run a marathon to get that runner’s high — try yoga or tai chi. Take a walk break in the afternoon or at lunch (just don’t make it a round trip for donuts or a sugary coffee drink).
2. Lower Depression (and Get Those Spreadsheets Done Faster)
One study has shown that exercising just four hours a week can lower those feelings of workplace burnout. It can also help decrease feelings of anxiety with all those feel-good brain chemicals it releases along with, oddly enough, increasing your body temperature. There have also been studies that show exercise keeps our brain grapes healthier as we age. And it doesn’t matter if you’re getting in your exercise before or after the workday, as long as you get it in. It all depends on what you’re comfortable with and what fits your schedule the best.
3. Stay Healthier (Even on the Weekends)
Exercise not only boosts your immune system – making it harder for you to catch that inevitable office cold – but it also strengthens your basic body mechanics. A stronger heart means less of a chance of heart attacks (the number one killer in the U.S.). If you can lower your cholesterol with some daily walking or a game of basketball, then that’s just a bonus! Plus, if you have kids, you’ll want to be perky and fit for a game of tag when you’re home from the salt mines, right? Set an example and get your body moving with some family exercise (bonus: a family walk costs a lot less than that latest video game they’ve been hounding you about).
4. Your Health Insurance Might Reimburse You
Many insurance plans offer fitness reimbursements or discounts at particular gyms or nutrition programs. So that means if you get into a workout routine you might get healthy on the cheap, too! Check with your health insurance provider to see what you can take advantage of now, and feel better later. Some also have bonuses if you join a smoking cessation program as well.
5. Get Confident and More Social
We all want more confidence at work, and regular exercise can help that. With simple goal setting, you can achieve minor victories every day (even if your workload is a monster). Make up some simple markers you can compare your progress to, like how fast you can run a lap or a mile. Apply yourself to that goal and you’ll be surprised how fast you can get over that hump. You could even join a group of likeminded exercisers and make some non-work friends. Try a local running shop for some after-work run buddies, or get chatting at the spinning class about someone’s favorite local rides. You already have one thing in common – after all, you’re not at work!
Tell Us What You Think
How do you work in a workout during the workday? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.