Sneaky office exercise to boost energy

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It can be hard to fit exercise into a work day, but most people can spare 10 minutes for a quick walk or to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

That’s the point of Participaction’s Sneak It In week, which started Monday. The annual event aims to reinforce Canadian guidelines that adults need 150 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity every week, but it doesn’t need to happen all in one go. Three 10 minute sessions a day is sufficient.

A recent survey commissioned by ParticipACTION found employees are fine with physical activity in the workplace, but few take part themselves. Only 11% of Canadians participate in desk-side exercise, but 64% said they see it as an acceptable workplace habit.

“Given how much time we spend at work, it is great to see that attitudes towards workplace exercise are changing,” Kelly Murumets, president and CEO of ParticipACTION, said. “Now we need to transform those attitudes into actions. By sneaking in short activity breaks during their workday, Canadians will move more and get closer to reaching the recommended physical activity guidelines.”

While it might not seem ideal for employees to be taking 10 minutes away from work three times a day, research shows exercise boosts metabolism and motivation, meaning your workers return energized and ready to focus.

“For those of us who work an eight-hour day, 10 minutes represent only 2% of our total time spent at work,” Murumets added. “Adding in a 10-minute activity break is not only good for our physical health but it also helps heighten mental alertness and productivity—both helpful in the workplace.”

So how can your staff embrace on-the-go exercise? Here are some ideas from Participaction:

  • Start a lunchtime walking club
  • Book a meeting room for a short yoga session
  • Have a walking meeting with colleagues
  • Park ten minutes away from the office
  • Hop off public transit a few stops sooner
  • Go “power shopping” and get active while running errands
  • Build in a couple of 10 minute activity breaks for day long meetings and conferences
  • Take a 10 minute walk around the neighbourhood before you eat lunch
  • Start a lunchtime stair-climbing club with friends at work
  • Walk, cycle, in-line skate or wheel to work. Or park your car at the far end of the parking lot
  • Go for a 10 minute power walk instead of taking a coffee break
  • Walk as much as possible through the workday
  • Stand while talking on the telephone

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