Bet you didn’t know it was National Women’s Health Week! Well, it is. This is basically just a time when we should think about how we can be healthier. Of course, this is easier said than done. Everyone is working more these days because we have the technology to do it and in some ways, it is expected. And when you are working for yourself, it seems especially challenging to give up precious work time to exercise, but it is important to do so, especially for women. A study came out this month that showed that inactivity, not smoking or obesity, is the number one threat to women under 30 when it comes to heart disease.
In addition to fending off death, one of the best ways to deal with stress and too much work is exercise. According to research from the University of Bristol, people who exercise on work days are more productive, happier and suffer less stress than on non-gym days: 72% reported improvements in time management on exercise days compared to non-exercise days, 79% said mental and interpersonal performance was better on days they exercised and 74% said they managed their workload better. You can’t work less, but you can figure out how to incorporate more exercise into your life. Here are some tips:
Workout early in the morning
You already wake up early for work and though sleep is precious, tacking on that extra hour will make you feel so much better for the whole day. Many successful people like Tory Burch and Tim Armstong workout before they even check their email . University of Bristol researchers found that employees who enjoyed a workout before going to work – or exercised during lunchbreaks – were better equipped to handle whatever the day threw at them. It also found that people’s general mood improved on days of exercise but they became less calm on non-exercise days. If you do have a commute, try to walk it or at least, some of it or try biking.
Set up a home gym
If you work from home, why not set up a room or even a corner for working out? Invest in weights, a small trampoline, a yoga mat, etc., There are so many videos available for free on the internet so it will be like having your own personal instructor at your house. Sometimes a little workout break can be all you need to be more productive.
Workout in the middle of the day
Not everyone can do this but if you are in a position in which you have the flexibility to schedule things so you have a free hour during the day, take advantage. Pippa Middleton seems to do it all the time. Make sure your gym is close by (even better if it is onsite) or just go for a run or walk outside.
Workout with a buddy
When you have someone holding you accountable, it will be harder to say no to exercising. You will look like a pathetic loser if you bail.
Blend business with your workout
Weekends can be a great time for tennis, skiing and golf. You can invite colleagues and clients along for these activities which will provide plenty of time for business talk and schmoozing.
Invest in a treadmill desk
Sitting at a desk chair all day is basically killing you. Data from Medical Billing and Coding sitting down for more than six hours a day gives you a 40% greater chance of dying within 15 years than someone who sits less than three hours. See this is what happens when you sit:
- Activity in your leg muscles turns off.
- You only start to burn a calorie per minute (unless you are doing like secret leg lifts at your desk).
- Enzymes that break down fat drop 90%.
- Good cholesterol drops 20%.
- Sitting a lot in 24 hours causes your insulin effectiveness to drop 24% so the risk of diabetes onset increases. Awesome.
So in addition to just getting up and stretching every 30 minutes or walking around your apartment or office, think about getting a treadmill desk or at least a standing desk (and you do not have to do it in heels like Victoria Beckham, pictured above. She is not human but she probably gets a lot done). Tell your manager bestselling author Susan Orlean and Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Cole both use them. Companies like Microsoft, Google, and Seattle-based real estate company Zillow have several available for workers.
Office fitness consultant Larry Swanson says, “There is plenty of evidence, including from the American Institute for Cancer Research, that shows that getting up for even two or three minutes per half hour reduces all the risks of cancer and other diseases associated with sitting.” The results are even better for those who can work in 10 minutes of movement per hour. Basically a treadmill desk could save your life.