Return to Main Menu
Fitness at work can burn more calories
Stop by the Health 1st Wellness
Wednesday table between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Aug. 13 in the Children’s
Hospital lobby to learn more about exercise tips, triceps tips, chair
squats and straight leg lifts.
Student Wellness Center
Finding time in the day to exercise can be challenging, which is why it
is one of the top three barriers to exercise. Lack of time also is the
easiest excuse for not exercising. Still, more than 80 percent of
people know that exercise is important to good health, but less than 30
percent exercise consistently enough to receive health benefits. H.
Jackson Brown Jr. once said, “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You
have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen
Keller, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Thomas Jefferson and Albert
Many of us spend most of the day at work, sometimes with odd schedules
and long hours. It makes sense to take care of our bodies while we are
there. Human bodies were made to move and not to sit for long periods
of time. If you have a sedentary job, it is important to take
mini-activity breaks throughout the day. It is easier than you think
and can be done right at your desk. Even the busiest person can do
this. It will make a difference in how you feel and how you perform
your job. Besides providing an attitude adjustment, taking just five
minutes every hour to get your blood circulating will boost your
energy, help you concentrate better, be more productive, burn calories,
boost your metabolism and add enjoyment to your job.
If you have a job that lets you move around throughout the day, then
take those same activity breaks and organize them into a few minutes of
meaningful bouts of strength, cardiovascular activity, stretching and
de-stressing. Every little bit helps, but being consistent is the key.
It can be easy to incorporate exercise into the work day. Everyone may
already realize the health benefits of parking further away to create
opportunities to walk, or taking the stairs instead of elevator.
To expand opportunities to burn calories and boost cardio health on the
job, consider the following tips for increasing consistency and
movement during the workday:
- First of all, you may need a little help changing your
habits. Try setting an alarm on your computer, watch or cell phone to
go off every hour to remind you it’s time for your five-minute fitness
break. Take three to five minutes to move, stretch and de-stress.
- Replace your office chair with a stability fitness ball.
Ball chairs are available, but a firmly inflated fitness ball will work
just as well. There are hundreds of quick exercises using the ball that
improve balance, tone your core muscles and boost metabolism. Just
sitting on the ball will promote better posture and require your waist
and abdominal area to work while you are sitting.
- Keep fitness equipment like resistance bands, a small
medicine ball, or a pair of dumbbells in your work or break area.
Choose exercises like bicep curls, front raises, seated rotations and
do 20 repetitions. Use your chair to do triceps dips and seated leg
raises. Concentrate on breathing, relaxing your shoulders and focus on
the working muscles.
- Practice body awareness. Always be thinking about what your
body is doing. Be aware of your posture whether sitting or moving. If
your job involves walking from place to place, pick up the pace—do it
faster and always take the stairs. If your job involves sitting most of
the time, stand up, walk to the door and back often.
- Walk or ride a bike to work. If you ride the bus, get off a
few stops early and walk part of the way.
- Find co-workers who want to make a commitment to improving
health and fitness.
- Let your heart do what it does best. Get your blood pumping
whenever possible. Use a pedometer and keep track of how many steps you
take. Try using the restroom on another floor and take the stairs to
get there. Do 10 desk push-ups, and 30 seconds of fast walking in place
- Use the time when you are on the phone to do repetitions of
stand-and-sit —like chair squats. You can also stand and do calf raises
and calf stretches. This will help circulation in the legs and add to
muscle tone and tension release.
Researchers agree that all exercise and movement are important in our
lives. By incorporating the above suggestions, you could burn an extra
200-plus calories per day. Add 20-30 minute walks or bike rides to your
week and you will make significant changes in your health and decrease
potential weight gain.
- Use time when you are waiting on your computer to print, or
when you are not using your keyboard to do upper body stretches,
shoulder circles and neck relaxation movements.
To reverse obesity, overweight and chronic disease, it is necessary to
develop strategies to increase all physical activity and movement
during the waking hours, even while at work.
Friday, Aug. 8, 2008
Catalyst Online is published weekly,
as needed and improved from time to time by the MUSC Office of Public
for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of
Carolina. Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at
or by email, email@example.com. Editorial copy can be submitted to
Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island
Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.