Let’s face it, working out regularly when you’ve got a full time job is about as easy as climbing Everest. With the average work days now extending up to 10 hours, hectic schedules to manage and, for many, a family at home that demands just as much time and attention as work, there’s just not always enough time in the day to pack a bag, head to the gym, work out, shower, and so on. We get it, it’s tough, but what does this really mean for you and how is it impacting your weight loss journey?
Sitting is the New Smoking
Research has shown that adults who spend 6 hours of their day watching television will reduce their lifespan by almost 5 years. Meanwhile, the average working adult spends about 9 hours a day sitting at a desk. Can you imagine how many more years of your life you’re wasting away by simply sitting at your desk the whole day? For those who are working out in an effort to lose weight, the effect of being desk-bound for the day is so devastating to the body that it will render a 60-minute workout ineffective. Every extra hour of inactivity per day increases a person’s chances of getting Type II Diabetes by 22%. The physical toll aside, this kind of inactivity is also detrimental to mental health. If you’re serious about losing weight and getting healthier, but need a way to tie your exercise into your current routine, there are some easy changes you can make to turn your life and your health around.
Switch to A Standing Desk
Obviously, standing requires more energy than sitting, but did you know that depending on your weight, standing burns an average of 50 more calories in an hour than sitting does? The extra caloric burn comes from additional muscle use, an engaged core and even the tendency of a person to fidget while standing. Converting to a standing desk can help you burn up to 150 calories more in a day than you normally would and provides you with the opportunity to add more movement to your day. Simple movements like swaying from side to side or walking in place keep your muscles warm and can easily contribute to more calories burned. Apart from burning more calories, switching to a standing desk can also help you correct posture problems and spur positive metabolic changes.
Take Every Opportunity to Move
In every work day, there are substantial opportunities to get up and move around or incorporate more activity into your day. You may think it to be mundane, but when you consciously add movement into your day, you are adding small spurts of exercise to a day that would otherwise be absolutely sedentary. It could be something as simple as choosing to go to your co-worker’s office to speak to them instead of sending an email, pacing while on a phone call instead of remaining seated, parking father away from the entrance or taking the long route to the restroom. Better yet, kick it up a notch and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Research shows that a 180-pound adult will burn roughly 18 calories in just 2 minutes if climbing up stairs. All of these little efforts count towards helping you shed more weight in the long run.
Leave the Car at Home
Instead of wasting an hour sitting in the car or standing in the train, why not turn your commute into a decent workout instead? This can be done no matter how near or far you live from your office. People who live relatively close to their place of work can stash toiletries and spare sets of clothes at the office then jog, cycle or even speed walk their way to work every morning. If you live quite some ways from the office, try getting off the bus or subway a bit earlier than you normally would and run or walk the rest of the distance to work. This is a fantastic way to squeeze in some cardio before the work day officially commences and to tick off the daily recommended 30 minutes of cardio from your check list. If you want to drop the pounds even faster, do turn your evening commute home into a work out as well.
Swap Your Chair with A Stability Ball
Just like switching to a standing desk, trading your run of the mill office chair for a stability ball is a fantastic way to incorporate exercise into your workday without even realizing it. Sitting on a stability ball requires your spine to be properly aligned to make balancing on it much easier and to compensate for this extra effort, the body’s abdominal muscles stay engaged for a prolonged period of time. Every hour adds up and it’s comparable to getting a low-intensity ab workout in every time you’re at your desk. A great bonus of using a stability ball instead of a chair is that over time, it helps to correct bad posture. This means you can burn calories and say goodbye to back pain in the near future.
Plan Out Some Active Breaks
If you really want to add exercise to your day to shed the pounds faster, making some form of movement a regular part occurrence is absolutely essential. Scheduling out short 5 to 10 minute breaks to be active, or even just walk, throughout the day can help you burn much more calories than you typically would. One of the best ways to make the most of these active breaks is to head somewhere private and doing a few squats. Just 11 minutes’ worth of squats a day can help the average person burn 150 extra calories. Breaking the 11 minutes up into 4 or so sets also makes it more manageable. These breaks are especially crucial on busy days when you’re stressed out or have too much on your plate at work. Our brains need a breather from work and taking a short rest from your desk is like hitting the reset button for your mental concentration.
Try A Subtle Workout
Did you know that even short spurts of activity, we’re talking even as short as a minute here, can help you rev up your caloric burn for the day and drop pounds faster? If you simply can’t squeeze in an active break, you can try subtler exercises that you can complete even while sitting or standing at a desk. Flexing or squeezing muscles, for example, is a low key exercise that get your muscles nice and warmed up for a longer and higher calorie burn throughout the day. You can try tightening your abs and engaging your core or squeezing your glutes for about 30 seconds then releasing for 10 seconds. Repeat this 10 times and do it about 3 or 4 times during the day. Even something as simple as having a hand gripper in your drawer is a fantastic way to add exercise to your workday and will do wonders for strengthening your grip and forearm strength.