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6 Tips to Make Your Workday Work For You

Posted June 12, 2014 by Melissa diLeonardo in Life After Five

Light activity and standing breaks in the workplace can have a large impact on your overall health.  Try these simple ways to become more active and productive at work.

Light activity and standing breaks in the workplace can have a large impact on your overall health. Try these simple ways to become more active and productive at work.

In the past 60 days, I have gone from being a full-time personal trainer to a full-time corporate wellness program manager. Not bad. I now get to help people get healthy on a larger scale and get to create and contribute to innovative workplace wellness initiatives. Not bad at all.

This professional opportunity has changed my daily routines. My commute is longer (45-75 minutes one way by car) and, despite having a stand-up workstation, I am walking less, outdoors less often, and often find myself tied to my computer, trying to get just one more item checked off my to-do list, before my next meeting or commute to my evening appointments. (I just couldn’t give everything up. I still adore teaching and training!)

I am realizing first-hand how challenging it is to stay active at work. Despite being in an environment that encourages standing breaks, walking around the office, and has multiple athletic social clubs, I notice that I can get completely sucked in to my computer. “I’m too busy” has crossed my mind repeatedly, and I know this is not good.

Although not everyone may work in an environment where the office culture promotes activity breaks. (This is unfortunate because studies show light activity increases productivity and employee satisfaction.) I am lucky to be in such an environment and am taking steps (literally and figuratively) to evade the “busy trap” and make time to move.

Here are a few ideas you can employ to make your workday more active in almost any workplace. FYI: Even if you workout in a gym, prolonged sitting should be countered with light activity throughout the day. (Studies show this, too.)

Your New To-Do List:

  1. If you have a long and seated commute, park your car farther away or take the stairs upon arriving at work. This is a great way to loosen up and get your blood flowing.
  2. Set up destination points in your office that can provide  greater opportunities for movement. Maybe use a washroom or kitchenette that is farther away from your work space. Again, use the stairs if possible.
  3. Stand up when you are on the phone or walk over to a colleague’s desk instead of emailing about small topics.
  4. Try to stand up for a few minutes once every hour. It sounds easy…but most of us don’t do it when we’re engrossed in our work. You burn more calories when you stand up…over 200 more calories per day compared to sitting.
  5. Make any low-tech or small group meetings mobile. Walk and talk outside. Seriously, you’ll be amazed at how much more alert you will become when you take an active meeting.
  6. If you need to meet in the conference room, try suggesting a standing break after 50 minutes. Again, you’ll be surprised about how standing up for a few minutes can make you feel more present and alert.

And from a nutritional perspective, remember to drink plenty of water and try to avoid using office vending machines ridden with processed foods. BYO healthy snacks and work to recognize the differences between hunger, thirst, and boredom.

Make it a point to try out one of these ideas next week. See if you not only feel more alert, but also more productive.

Make your workday work toward your health.  Stand up, move, and feel good.


About the Author

Melissa diLeonardo

Melissa is an East Coast native who has made Chicago her home! She has worked in the health and wellness field for over six years and lives to bike, hike, run, lift, and play. As a ReebokONE Brand Ambassador, Certified Personal Trainer via the American Council on Exercise, and a Registered Yoga Teacher, Melissa is down with good health. Voted “Best Personal Trainer” in the 2013 Chicago Reader’s Annual Poll and selected as a global finalist in the 2013 Life Fitness Personal Trainer to Watch Contest, Melissa instructs fitness and yoga classes throughout the north side of Chicago (spinning, boot camp, strength training). She a proud member and assistant coach at CrossFit Chicago and Master Trainer for Life Fitness Academy . Co-founder of the Chicago-based wellness collective, true-2-life.com and Program Manager for Corporate Movement at Life Fitness Corporation, you can follow her on twitter @mdsapphire. Now let's dance!

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