Fitness Beginnings: Take Exercise Breaks
At the beginning of this physical activity series, you may have made the commitment to get healthier by incorporating more physical activity into your day. You may have even started exercising regularly. Congratulations on your progress! To continue on your fitness journey, find ways to incorporate even more movement into your day.
Even if we regularly exercise, many of us sit for long periods of time at work, at home, and while traveling. Research has linked this sedentary behavior with several health concerns including obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Regardless of your current activity level, studies have found that standing up and walking for five minutes every hour during the workday can improve your mood, make you more relaxed, and increase your concentration.
Here are some tips to get you moving more during the work day:
- Instead of emailing a colleague, relay the message in person.
- Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator.
- Stand while talking on the phone.
- Set a timer to remind you to get up every one to two hours at work and walk. Some fitness bands even provide hourly reminders.
- Go for a short stroll on your lunch break several days a week.
- If possible, get a standing desk at work. This doesn’t mean you have to stand all day. You can get an adjustable desk that lets you alternate between standing and sitting. You can also improvise with a high table or counter.
Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.
Written by Natalie Jones, University of Kentucky Physical Activity Program Coordinator. Edited by Lauren Fernandez, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.