By Kristin Granero
If sitting at your desk eight hours a day has your fitness mojo down and/or you can rarely find time to hit the gym before or after work due to a variety of other factors (long commute, sleep, networking, etc), you’re not alone.
Because we’ve certainly been there (happy hour can be so tempting!), we went ahead and rounded up eight subtle, yet effective ways to sneak a little exercise into your everyday grind.
From taking the fit route to sweatworking (and scooping up some desk-friendly workout equipment along the way), read on for eight ways you can make a dent in your fitness goals without having to go out of your way (or, for some, even out of your cubicle).
- Take the Fit Route
Many have no choice but to drive or take public transportation to work so, if you’re lucky enough to be in exercising distance, take advantage. Not only will walking or cycling – many major cities have pay-as-you-go bikes available for those who don’t own or can’t store them at work – help you burn calories, but it will help you mentally prepare for the day and might just get you started in a good mood. (Fresh air trumps a crowded subway any day.)
- Hit the Stairs
Once you get to the office, resist the urge to take the elevator and instead opt for the stairs. Studies say that climbing stairs cannot only help boost your overall energy, but can also increase the function of your immune system and lower your risk for a variety of health issues. This is especially ideal for someone who works on a lower-level floor.
- Sit n’Petal
If hitting the stairs isn’t an option, or you just want to keep the momentum going, try stashing an elliptical under your desk. Yes, you read that correctly. Manufacturers are making it easier than ever to get your fitness on by offering discreet, sit-down versions of some of your favorite machines, including this Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer you can use to petal as you polish off those emails.
- Venture Out
Instead of visiting the closest lunch spot for ‘the usual’, have some fun (and burn some LBs) by challenging yourself to try new ones that are off the beaten path. The farther the location and healthier the grub, the better!
- Get a Grip
Make the most of long conference calls by using them as an opportunity to tone up with a pair of grippers. In addition to strengthening your grip, they could help you release tension during any high-stress moments.
- Strengthen Your Core
Give new meaning to the term ‘8-hour abs’ by building a core workout right into your desk chair. The Gaiam Balance Ball Chair includes a 52cm stability ball, along with pump and exercise guide, to help you engage your mid-section and minimize back pain.
- Take a Gym Break
If your company has a fitness center or offers special wellness courses, go! This is especially great for someone who has a generous morning or lunch break and can sneak in a 30-minute class here and there. By incorporating your workout right into your workday, you won’t need to cut into other priorities to get the job done.
Last, but certainly not least, resist the urge to do happy hour with colleagues, friends or your S.O. after work and instead suggest catching up through your shared love of fitness. Programs like Classpass are making it easier for people to meet up at various studios versus everyone having to commit to one gym membership. Plus, research says trying new things can help improve your bond!
Kristin Granero is an Ed volunteer who has contributed to various media outlets, including Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Women’s Health, Fitness Magazine, Teen Vogue, Parents Latina, Popsugar and TODAY. When she’s not writing, she’s scouring New York City for the latest and greatest guacamole.