Keeping a fit and healthy lifestyle can be tough, it feels like you don’t have the time between family, friends and work. Work can be the hardest, you find yourself always sitting down even on lunch breaks and not being able to resist heading out for lunch with a workmate or the sweet snacks lying around the office. But there are steps you can take to move towards a healthier workplace by engaging a few workmates.

The first initiative is to create a healthy eating lunch group between yourself and some workmates. This only requires a bit of preparation and will help you save money in the long run. Bring a healthy meal along and enjoy while possibly collecting some recipe ideas from your colleagues. This way you won’t be tempted to steal fries off your workmate’s plate while you order a salad.

Try walking. It’s so easy, go for a walk while on your lunch break, even just for half of it. Bring some workmates along and catch up while getting in a good dose of fresh air. It’s refreshing to get moving and stretch your legs and will help you avoid the afternoon slump. You can even take your healthy lunches with you and enjoy them outside in the sunshine.

The third initiative is to look into getting some stand-up desks for the office. Sitting down for more than four hours a day is costly to your health but when you work more than four hours a day you don’t have much of a choice. Stand up desks are a great way to get on your feet and still get your work done. Organise for you and your workmates to actively use one whenever you can and if you can’t get your hands on many they are easy to share. Take turns throughout the day to minimise the time you spend sitting.

Once you’re on a roll try and engage your whole business in these health initiatives. Eventually, you’ll have everyone on board for an event like Tour de Office to help push healthy workplaces.

So give it a go and kickstart your workplace with these health initiatives to create a better and healthier environment for all. It won’t take long and you’ll have all your co-workers eating better, walking more and riding in Tour de Office.

 

So you can walk the walk but can you walk and talk? Walking meetings are the new stand-up desks. You can do them inside your long hallways or better yet outside in the fresh air. They’re hip, they’re cool and they are so good for employee health. But if you’re not hip and cool and following the trends then let me give you some other reasons you should start walking and talking.

More bang for your buck

By getting employees up and moving, wiggling their toes and raising their heart rate you are helping them improve their health and your business. Active and healthy employees are shown to take considerably less time off work for illness leading to a higher productivity rate.

Bigger and better ideas

Did you want more of your employees thinking outside of the box instead of sitting inside one? Then you’ll definitely want to start walking meetings as walking has proven to produce more creative thoughts and problem-solving. No need to pull your hair out when you can’t solve a problem, just go for a walk.

No more repeating yourself

You’re breathing in the fresh air, you’re feeling more relaxed and more engaged. There are no distracting phones or computers in front of you. You’re listening in the meeting, taking in every word. This is because your heart rate is up, increasing your blood flow and allowing more oxygen into your wonderful brain. Exercise is truly amazing.

Paid exercise

It’s hard finding thirty minutes a day to commit to raising that heart rate but with walking meetings, you can easily knock out at least ten minutes of this. And you’re paid for it! It’s the exercise adults have been needing to get a kickstart on their health.

Who knew your business could get such a big boost from just getting out of your seat? Well… we did.

 

In the lead up to International No Elevators Day, we would like to discuss stairs! Don’t be alarmed, I’m not going to make you walk up any… yet (insert evil laugh). I know they seem terribly daunting, having to lift one leg up and then another – I’m exhausted just typing this. It’s just so much easier moving a few floors in a metal capsule suspended by some rope.

Oh, wait, no it’s not. Stairs have been around since 6000BC. Do you know how long elevators have been around? The answer is not much longer than the soup cans in your grandmother’s pantry. Elevators have only been around since the middle of the 19th century.

Did you also know there are great health benefits to taking the stairs instead of the elevator? It’s insane that physical exercise is good for you. By taking the stairs you’re burning more calories and building up your fitness. As for your mental health, exercise helps stress and anxiety, and helps you avoid Joe who always takes the elevator and doesn’t seem to know what deodorant is. It’s a win-win-win.

Now I understand that buildings have become much larger and you don’t want to waste half your day just to get into your office on the 20th floor. But… so many people who have access to stairs and only have to move a few levels up still choose to take the elevator.

Don’t worry though, I know you’re smart and you take the stairs because you understand the benefits of physical activity and care about your impact on the environment. Though maybe you know someone who still takes the silly, old elevator even though they run the risk of running into Joe. How do you help these people?

Studies have shown putting signs near elevators and stairs like ‘Don’t lose time, lose weight. Use the stairs’ and ‘Don’t waste time, trim your waistline. Take the stairs’ had a great impact. Other phrases to try are:

 

No time for activity. Your opportunity is now. #TakeTheStairs on #NoElevatorsDay

 

The entire world is climbing the stairs on #NoElevatorsDay How many stairs have you climbed today? #TakeTheStairs

 

There is no elevator to success – you have to #TakeTheStairs. Take that first step today on #NoElevatorsDay

 

If this doesn’t work though you can also try putting up a sign that the elevator is broken or that Joe stunk it up and now it’s shut down. Or tell them that it’s turned into a portal to Narnia and they’ll have to take the stairs (this one can backfire as employees may want to skip work and go to Narnia instead).

Now feel free to take the stairs and help us #quitthesit  #TakeTheStairs #NoElevatorsDay

Problem: Keeping Healthy on the Holidays

Another holiday approaches, and though thankful for the break, it’s hard to keep a routine at what has turned into such a busy time of year. Luckily Easter doesn’t drag itself out as long as Christmas but it’s too easy to consume your body weight in food, particularly gloriously, sugary chocolates that seem to just be lying everywhere around the house.

So how do you keep up some sort of healthy routine when you feel like those chocolate bunnies in the fridge are staring you down saying ‘eat me, eat me’?

If you’re staying home for the break but don’t have much time in between family visiting and bathing your child for the millionth time because they have melted chocolate in their hair then try exer-cleaning. Yes, exer-cleaning, the cleaning version of jazz-ercise. You’re bound to be tidying up the house over this time so amp it up a bit and make it a workout. Try vacuuming your house that little bit faster or adding in a few squats while picking items up from the floor.

If your holiday involves some travelling, possibly some road tripping, make sure to take regular stops to stretch your legs. Walk around for five minutes or do some jumping jacks to get your blood pumping. Once you’ve reached your destination, try and walk everywhere you need to go if possible. Not only good for your health but you’ll notice things that would have been missed while driving.

Even with some little extra bursts of exercise, it can be hard to balance out your eating habits. So try out an Easter Egg Hunt: Squat Edition. Every time you go to pick up an egg, perform a proper squat or 5 if you feel so inclined.

Don’t let these holidays get the best of you, you don’t want to have to buy new work pants just after a few days off.

Status: Solved

 

Welcome to the No Excuses Series where different active lifestyles are explored to show there really is no excuse. In this interview, we speak with Helen, Event Leader for Tour de Office, mother of three and runner. 

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m the Event Leader for the Tour de Office Event, I work with a fantastic team to deliver the in-office cycling relay experience for companies around Australia. I work four days a week which gives me time to spend with my two young children.

What does a basic rundown of your day look like? 

I usually get jumped on by an energetic toddler or hear the unmistakable call of a waking baby around 5 am each day. We all head downstairs for a family breakfast and then depending on the season/light we’ll have a sneaky swim together, a walk outside or a dance party inside. It’s safe to say sitting down and eating a leisurely breakfast is a thing of the past. The positive is that I get my body moving from the moment I wake up, albeit involuntarily.

From there, its dressing and daycare drop off followed by a drive into work. I’m lucky to have a stand-up desk which helps to increase my time standing – and honestly does great things for my back and posture. Some work lends itself really well to walking and standing – like talking on the phone or creative thinking while I prefer to sit when I need to smash out a pile of written work or respond to emails. I take a small break for lunch and finish earlier in the afternoon so I can exercise outside and avoid the heat and strong sun. I’m lucky to work in an office on the Brisbane river so it’s easy to jump on to the riverside path and do a short run before heading out to pick up the kids.

The evening routine is pretty hectic with dinner, baths, books and bed so I usually fall at the same time as my children (sometimes mid-bed time story much to my 3-year-old’s disappointment). Then we do this all over again – cue 5 am wake up call!

How do you stay motivated and continue to do this (nearly) every day?

My children and husband motivate me. It is hard to sit on the sidelines when we are such an active family. I need my body to be strong and healthy so I can play with my children and have the energy to run the Tour de Office event!

What do you find the most challenging about keeping an active and healthy lifestyle?

As much as my children motivate me – they are also my biggest obstacle to keeping fit. Before them, I ran marathons and participated in loads of team sports in the evening. Now it is harder to find the time and freedom to head out for a 3-hour training run – and then give my body the necessary recovery.

Do you ever change it up?

I hope to soon – but this is a pretty standard routine. The weekends we start our Saturday with a local park run and include a family bike ride at one point.

What is your tip for others?

Find every opportunity to move – you don’t have to have a designated time or place. Once you start you can’t stop.

What is your favourite exercise?

Competitive sport! I lived in Canada for several years and loved playing ball hockey, while in Australia I grew up playing netball and touch football.

Do you hate exercising? Do you avoid it at all costs? Would you rather exercise without knowing you’re doing it?

Well congratulations, you already are.

High-intensity exercise. Sound familiar? Probably not. But chances are you engage in high-intensity exercise at least once a day. High-intensity exercise is when you raise your heart beat above it’s resting rate. This is probably done daily without you knowing it.

Have you ever:

  1. Run the last hundred metres to the bus stop?
  2. Carried heavy groceries up a few flights of stairs?
  3. Walked up a hill, any hill because you’ve no other option?

All of these basic, day-to-day tasks that leave you slightly (or more than slightly) out of breath are a form of high-intensity exercise. This style of exercise assists your cardio and respiratory system. It’s a quick and (mostly) easy way to become a fitter and healthier person even if you don’t want to be. Performing these sort of tasks more regularly can greatly benefit your overall health and they’re great for people who can’t find the time to exercise. It’s easy enough to raise your heart rate through pushing yourself to do daily tasks faster. But if you need more ideas on how to accidentally exercise you could try pretending:

  • you’re out of fuel and have to walk to the shops
  • the elevator is broken and you can only take the stairs
  • your dogs leash broke and now you have to chase after them

Sitting at your desk for eight hours a day can be a pain in the bum, metaphorically speaking… but also literally. We understand that not all workplaces have initiatives in place that allow employees to get active during their working day. That is where we can help! We have devised 5 simple exercises you can do while not having to leave your chair.

Just because you’re desk-bound does not mean you have to remain inactive. Give these a try next time you have a free moment in the office and maybe ask your desk buddy to join in! You’ll have the physique of a young Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (or the equivalent Dwaynette) in no time.

1. Tricep Dips

Using a stationary chair only (or a low bench). Push your chair out from your desk so you’ve got some wiggle room. With your hands resting on the edge of your chair and your knees at a right angle, dip as far as you can go and rise back up without locking your arms.

2. Ab Squeeze

Just sitting at your desk, sitting up straight, take one large breath in and tense your abdominal muscles. Hold this position for at least 10 seconds and then release. This one can be done while in a meeting or on a phone call.

3. Seated Leg Raise

While sitting up straight in a chair, lift one leg up, keeping it horizontal. You will feel your the muscles in your leg and abdominal become engaged. Hold this position for 5 seconds then slowly lower your leg down. Switch legs, and repeat.

4. Circulation

While sitting comfortably in your chair with a straight back and feet touching the floor, point your toes down and rapidly tap on the floor. This will increase your blood circulation and give you a quick boost of energy.

5. Seated Ab Twist

Sit on the edge of your chair so your bottom is firmly placed. Lift your arms behind your head and lift one knee to the opposite angle, letting your body naturally twist. You should feel your abdominal muscles activate in this position. Twist back into a normal seated position and then repeat with the opposite leg and elbow.

If you’re a Forgetful Freddy or a Slow Sally then maybe you need to start exercising more! As you know there are many benefits to exercising ranging from physical to mental health. But did you know that exercising can make you smarter? Regular exercise has shown to increase productivity and creativity. This can help you respond to your emails more efficiently, follow up on those missed calls or create a social media platform, name it Facebook and make billions.

A study undertaken by the American College of Sports and Medicine found that exercising regularly can help improve your memory. Running was found to be the most effective method of exercise. So maybe before your next meeting with your boss, before your palms get sweaty or your knees are weak and your arms are heavy… go for a run!

A psychophysiology study showed women who exercised regularly were outperforming their peers on challenging cognitive tasks. This is all due to increased blood flow and the amount of protein that your brain creates after exercising. Taking at least 30 minutes out of your day can help you live a much longer, happier and healthier lifestyle. It may also make you a genius.

Now I’m definitely no scientist and can’t make a claim that you will be the next ‘Good Will Hunting’ but next time you go for a run, if you happen to walk by a chalkboard with a hard math problem, give it a go!

Would you like to increase your life expectancy and become 3 times more productive? Of course, you do. This can simply be accomplished through your workday. Employers and employees can benefit from incorporating healthier habits for everyone in the workplace. It can begin by offering healthy snacks to engaging your office into physical acitvity. 

Physical acitvity in the office? Yes. It’s easier than you think. By providing a space for employees to be active in their spare time you can increase worker productivity, lower sick days and increase employee satisfaction all while improving corporate image.

Consider converting your meeting room into a makeshift gym. You don’t need to buy a treadmill or dumbbells or blast obnoxious music that dissipates your staff motivation. There are many exercises that can be completed with no equipment at all, you just need a space. You could ask employees to bring in their yoga mats and have a relaxing session of stretching or maybe a quick planking competition. The quick burst of energy many feel after exercising will help the afternoon lull. Some employees prefer a more structured setting so creating mini-classes for employees can be beneficial for their health as well as creating better relationships in the office. 

Create movement in the workplace and join Tour de Office in quitting the sit.