So, we have all heard the recommendations about getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity in per day most days of the week, right? Thirty minutes doesn’t sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things but for some reason fitting the time in to get ready, driving to the gym, doing the activity, and then the time to cool down and recover from the activity seems more overwhelming than “just 30 minutes.” Not to mention other demands outside of work hours including housework, meetings for non-work events, family responsibilities, church, activities for kids, etc. We can quickly see how the time for physical activity gets quickly filled up with other responsibilities and we put our own health on the back burner.
What about taking part of your lunch break or your 15-minute breaks at work to get outside and walk or move around the building inside if weather doesn’t permit? I know what you are going to say and I think I might have a response for it:
- I can’t take a break because I am too busy at work.
My response: Yes, work can be demanding but it can wait for a few minutes while you take a break. You will be surprised at how much better you will feel if you get out from under the fluorescent lights, get some fresh air, and move your body. Most people find that they are more productive after taking a 15-minute break.
- It is too cold or too hot to get outside and walk.
My response: If we waited on the weather to be perfect for us to walk outside, we would be waiting for a long time. We can use this as an excuse or we can persevere. You can bring a light jacket or umbrella for those drizzly days (make sure to leave an extra at work for those days it sneaks up on you) or you can take the early break before it gets too hot outside and use that for your outside walking. You can also make your own indoor tracks within the building if you truly can’t get outside.
- I don’t have a break at the same time as my friends so I have no one to walk with.
My response: Use your break or lunch time to listen to the music of your choice, a great PodCast or audiobook, or maybe call a friend or family member that you haven’t talked to in a while and they can be your “virtual walking buddy.”
- I have to use my lunch break to run errands.
My response: Try making physical activity the priority during to walk so you will be more energized for that afternoon slump and then run your errands after work. You can even incorporate physical activity in your errands by parking far away, taking extra laps around the store, and leaving your buggy at the end of the aisle so you can get extra activity in by walking up and down the aisle to put items in your buggy.
- I don’t have a good place to walk.
My response: Be creative! See if you can find ways to move more at work. Most of the corporate worksites that I visit have either a sidewalk around the building or a place close by that has a sidewalk that you can use for walking. It doesn’t have to be a park-it can be a shopping center where you walk around the sidewalks or even in the parking lot. If you are fortunate enough to have a place around your worksite that is for walking, use it! Consider it part of your worksite benefits and make sure to take advantage of it. At one of the BB&T locations that I visit, they have a nice ¼ mile trail that is mostly shaded that is perfect for walking year round and I try to take advantage of it every opportunity that I can.
This week, try to get outside and move during your breaks and lunch to see if you can tell a difference in how your body feels.