By Heather Taylor
Long days at work plus even longer commutes home often equal skipping a workout sesh in favor of winding down with a glass of wine and Netflix—and these excuses make it tough to stay committed to regular exercise. Need a little extra motivation to get in your 10,000 steps or keep from missing out on your weekly spinning class? Here’s what you need to do to get off the couch and into action.
Figure out your fitness goals.
Andrea Bari Levine, certified group fitness instructor (ACE) and trained wellness coach, says that the most effective way to change your lifestyle is start small. Rather than doing something drastic that you know you won’t like, determine what your fitness goals are and then find a plan that works for you and that you can easily accomplish each day. Adventure lovers might opt for indoor rock climbing while nature fans may take a short walk in the park. If you’re not sure what you enjoy, try out a handful of exercises that sound fun. The more activities you try, the more comfortable you’ll feel taking on other forms of movement.
Set a timer.
We’ve all skipped a workout because we just didn’t have enough time to commit to it, especially during a busy workday. But you can easily sneak movement into your routine in small doses; Levine recommends setting a timer on your desktop or phone and getting up whenever it goes off. Add a specific goal with your alert, like taking 100 steps, and eventually it’ll become a healthy habit.
Take a stand.
Taking a phone call with a colleague? Plug in your earbuds and go for a walk. Meeting with your boss? Meet standing up instead of sitting down. According to women’s fitness expert Julie Lohre, standing can help you burn 20 to 50 more calories per hour, and it also contributes to an overall better sense of well-being and health.
If your office has a gym, use it.
It’s time to make that lunch break work to your advantage. Carolee Walker, wellness blogger and journalist for The Washington Post, advises going for a ride on a recumbent bike because your hands are free to answer emails and catch up on reading while your legs and core get stronger. Sweaty hair afterwards? Use a little dry shampoo before heading back to your desk.
Start a new kind of happy hour tradition.
While we all love grabbing drinks after work, those tabs do add up, both in price and calorie counts. Lohre recommends starting up an intramural league, like volleyball or bowling, with your colleagues. This helps everyone stay fit, and it gives you a chance to connect and bond with your team.
Heather Taylor is a former entertainment writer turned brand mascot aficionado (and head writer) for Advertising Week’s Icon Blog. She been published on HelloGiggles, Brit + Co, The Drum, and BettyConfidential. Find her on Twitter @howveryheather.