Planking on the train: How to stay fit when you’re stuck in the office

Lauren Hannaford

FHIT by Lauren Hannaford's founder demonstrating a tricep dip. Source: Supplied.

Living in a fast-paced and dynamic working environment makes exercise the easiest thing to drop off the agenda. In fact, just over half of all adults aged 18-64 are not engaged in enough physical activity to gain a health benefit.

But there are many ways you can build an hour of exercise into your day to give you a quick burst of energy, relax your mind and body, and make you feel more energised and productive, both at home and at work.

It’ll take a few days to get into a rhythm, but once you do, you won’t think about a life without exercise.

Here are three quick workouts, plus some tips, to get you started, and help you work towards something bigger and better.

A quick burst each morning

Start your day by waking up 10 minutes earlier each morning to incorporate a quick energy-boosting workout to give your body the attention it deserves. A morning workout will release the endorphins your body needs to help you feel energised, alert, focused and positive for your day at work.

Plus, with more companies now providing facilities for showering, you can work out during your commute and refresh into your work gear by 9am without any equipment required — just you and your stopwatch.

Doing this daily will help you with mental clarity. You’ll also notice some improved results over time, especially if you put in the effort and build your length of time into different intervals.

Utilising your lunch break

Your lunch break is the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs and get out of the office to clear your mind. By going for a walk, you can grab some fresh air and soak in some Vitamin D to give your mind the clarity and reboot it needs to power through the afternoon.

While it also happens to be the time you can sit down and enjoy a meal, having worked out prior will help kickstart your metabolism and your body will instantly use the food as fuel instead of storing it in your body as fat.

To maximise your walking distance, why not go a few hundred metres further for your lunch by sourcing a new place to grab your fix?

If you are wanting something a little more intensive then try these quick effective workouts in your lunch break.

Getting into a habit of repeating this workout will help trim and tone your body and improve your energy. Even if you only manage to repeat this twice a week, then you are on your way to improved health and better productivity.

Stretch, stretch and stretch

While most of your day is spent at an office desk, there are many tricks to fit in that extra bit of movement. Looking at a computer for hours puts stress on your hips, lower back, shoulders and neck. Effective stretching and moving your body through a range of motion plays a key role in releasing some of the tension that forms in your body and helps to relax your muscles which have been in the same posture for hours.

Involve your colleagues to keep each other accountable for poor posture.

Here are some effective stretches you can try throughout the day. 

These three tips should help boost your movement throughout the day.

If you find it hard to exercise or go for a walk on your own, then get some work colleagues involved. This makes each of you accountable and more likely to commit as you don’t want to let each other down. The more time you commit to these small changes in your week, the more you will enjoy it, and the faster you will see results, whether they be physical or mental.

Remember, when you’re feeling flat and sluggish, get up and get moving and you will be amazed at how physical exercise will make you feel. It’s discipline that will get you moving and motivation that will keep you going once you get started. Don’t forget, fitness routines take time to embed and personalise.

NOW READ: Running on empty: Why my treadmill desk trial was a flop

NOW READ: Jacinda Ardern paves the way: Why all small-business owners need a ‘wellbeing budget’


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