How to Get More Exercise During the Day

Get More Exercise
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There’s no doubt about the positive effects that regular exercise has on our life. From normal health benefits, to the aesthetics of trimming down or bulking up depending on your goals, and even staying limber, strong, and keeping your heart and lungs healthy, too. There are a plethora of health-benefits that stem from engaging in regular exercise. However, not all of us are getting the appropriate or recommended volume of physical exercise that we actually need on a daily basis. This can partially be linked to the emergence and popularity of a sedentary lifestyle promoted by the working environment in which many of us find ourselves. I.e if you’re spending the majority of your week sitting behind a computer screen, there’s a good chance you aren’t getting the amount of movement and exercise that you actually need.

The frustrating thing is that, in this instance, it’s not even necessarily your fault. We need to eat! We all need an income, and many of the jobs that pay well in today’s society stray away from physical exertion and are more about mental gymnastics. That all being said, the importance of exercise has far from gone away, which makes it crucial to find the time to incorporate movement and exercise into your weekly schedule, no matter how busy you get.

“Researchers have long known that physical activity lengthens lifespans and reduces the risk from cardiovascular disease, regardless of gender or ethnicity.”

Study Finds

Get in Movement Over Lunch

One easy approach to get in some extra exercise is to utilize your lunch break. While many working professionals fall into the trap of actually working right through their lunch, this has actually been proven to be somewhat bad for your mentality and your ability to sustain high levels of productivity. Instead, take a walk around the block after eating your lunch, or even just get in 20 minutes of light yoga. This can stimulate blood-flow, help you relax and decompress after your morning, and tackle the afternoon with a fresh set of eyes.

“It started as just a lunch-time walk, but now it’s a full on run. There are a few nice trails right nearby, so I just put on my headphones, eat a quick bite, and then hit the path. It helps me focus in the afternoon, otherwise I feel like I start to bounce in my chair.”

– Boye Fajinmi, Co-Founder and President, TheFutureParty

Getting in some movement over your lunch break can be a good option for those who don’t want to spend time in the morning or the evening working out or getting in exercise. Even for those who do like to work out on their own time, a lunch-time walk can help your body dispel some of the lactic acid that is sure to build up from time to time.

“I typically like to work out with weights in the morning, so then at lunch I’ll either go for a little walk or get some stretching in. That way my muscles don’t stay sore for nearly as long, and I can hit the gym again with fresh legs.”

– Drake Ballew, CEO, Practice Health

Plan for a Morning Workout

If you find yourself having trouble getting through the mornings at work because you just feel groggy – you may actually want to try getting into a morning workout routine. This can help your mornings feel easier mentally for a few reasons. Firstly, by waking up earlier, your body and brain will have a little bit longer to fully wake up before you hit your desk and start opening emails. Furthermore, getting your muscles warmed up and your blood pumping through your veins is proven to help people wake up and feel more alert.

“This might sound a little melodramatic, but morning workouts changed my life. I used to have the hardest time getting out of bed, but now I’m up and at em at 5am every day without an alarm clock. Working out in the morning just feels like I’m getting the day started on the right note.”

– Alex Wang, CEO, Ember Fund

Another benefit to working out in the morning is that it gets the exercise over and done with the first thing in the day. This way, you don’t have to finish work and dread going to the gym when you’re already tired and worn out mentally from your day in the office. Instead, if you’ve worked out in the morning, you can move along with your day, get home, and start relaxing.

“One of the reasons I love working out in the morning is because it means I don’t have to do it after work. After work I either want to go home and start relaxing, or I want to go out with my friends. I don’t want more work waiting for me after work.”

– Stefan Sharkansky, President, Personal Fund

Invest in a Standing Desk

Standing desks have become extremely popular in the past few years, especially as more and more working professionals have transitioned to a work-from-home or remote-work environment. Standing desks offer professionals the opportunity to work from a standing position, which can be beneficial to getting in a little bit of extra exercise and movement throughout the day.

“I love my standing desk in my home office! I use it all the time, and I feel like it really just changes the dynamic of my day. Don’t get me wrong, I still sit from time-to-time, too. But being able to work and stand, it’s just a really nice option and doesn’t make me feel so stiff.”

– Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder and CEO, OSDB Sports

Standing desks are a great option to add a little bit of extra movement into your day, but keep in mind that this is hardly a worthy substitute for an entire workout regimen. If you’re utilizing a standing desk in your daily life, make sure you aren’t neglecting real periods of physical exercise as well.

“My standing desk mainly helps me think. Sometimes when I’m sitting for too long, my thoughts just start to feel stale. By being able to stand, I guess I can work out some of that pacing-type energy, and I feel like it just helps me think when I get in a rut.”

– Ian Heyman, Founder, Dermasteel

Get More Exercise
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Take a Break and Stretch

The mental health benefits of taking short breaks throughout the day have long been proven. However, you can double-down on these breaks and also use them to get in some light stretching. You don’t have to be a yogi or anything close to it to get in a few toe touches or to loosen up your shoulders by rolling them out. Stretching regularly can improve your blood flow, improve digestion, and keep you sharp mentally. All in addition to keeping you limber and improving flexibility.

“I feel like we all do a little bit of stretching already as it is just naturally. Doing it intentionally throughout the day, though, now that’s a game-changer. When you’re starting to feel like you’re about to hit a wall, just step away for a few minutes, get in some stretching, and then get back to it. 8/10 times that will help.”

– Matas Jakutis, CMO, Forcefield Digital

While you’re working on stretching, you can also practice a few breathing exercises. Breathing exercises promote a healthy mental and emotional landscape, and can be an effective decompressing technique as well.

“Sometimes in the middle of my most chaotic weeks I think that breathing and stretching are the only things keeping me sane. I’m teasing, of course, but yeah – I learned years ago the importance of a good mid-day stretch amidst the chaos of a hectic week.”

– Lydia Boychuk, VP of Marketing, More Labs

Night Owls can Workout Too

Perhaps working up before your office hours simply isn’t for you. That’s understandable, everyone has to march to the beat of their own drum from time-to-time. If you’d rather get your workout in during the evening, simply find a gym that’s open late or even 24/7.

“If you workout late enough at night, it’s almost the same thing as working out early in the morning. There are less people, you don’t have to wait for machines, it’s kind of quiet. It feels more tranquil that way in my opinion.”

– Matt Miller, Founder and CEO, Embroker

If you do choose to workout after you finish working for the day, you may want to avoid the “5pm rush”. That is unless you’re working out in a home-gym. Rather than going immediately to the gym after getting off work, go home, get some dinner, and even relax for a little. After a few hours, between 8-9:30pm, the crazy after-work-rush should be cleared out, and the gym will be all yours.

“I don’t like working out with other people, so I work out at night. Besides, I love getting in a strong sweat-session, taking a scorching hot shower, and then collapsing in bed. I get the best sleep these days with this routine.”

– Caleb Ulffers, CEO, Haven Athletic

Final Thoughts on Prioritizing Exercise

Living a long, healthy, and happy life is dependent on your ability to love, nurture, and care for your physical body. It’s important to prioritize some level of physical exercise no matter where you find yourself on your physical health journey. You and your loved ones will thank you for it.

“No matter your health and physical abilities, you can gain a lot by staying active. In fact, studies show that “taking it easy” is risky. Often, inactivity is more to blame than age when older people lose the ability to do things on their own. Lack of physical activity also can lead to more visits to the doctor, more hospitalizations, and more use of medicines for a variety of illnesses.”

National Institute on Aging