We all know we need to exercise more. It improves our blood sugar control, helps us manage stress, and even makes getting a good night’s sleep easier. Maybe you’re already walking, gardening, doing exercise videos, or working out with weights at the gym. That’s great.
But … do you spend a large part of your day sitting? You may have heard someone say “sitting is the new smoking.” While that may not be entirely true, sitting for 8 hours at a pop isn't good for you. Let me share a trick that makes me more productive, helps me log more exercise minutes, and gives me more energy during the day.
My trick is based on the Pomodoro technique, a time management system that I learned about from a podcast (while I was taking a walk, by the way). Basically, you decide what you want to work on, then set a timer for 25 minutes. When time is up, you get up and move around for 5 minutes.
Here’s the way it plays out for me: At the start of my workday, I make a list of the 4 or 5 most important things I need to get done and estimate how many 25-minute segments it will take for each. I pick the most important task, tell Siri to set a timer for 25 minutes, and focus on nothing but that task until the timer goes off (no checking email or Facebook).
When the timer goes off, I get up and go downstairs to make a cup of tea (or get a glass of water). While I’m waiting for the water to boil, I do some squats or calf raises, stretch my quads or hamstrings (I’m the proud owner of the world’s tightest hamstrings), walk fast around my kitchen island, do some jumping jacks, etc. (Not all in the same break, mind you!) I spend at least 5 minutes moving my body in some way and I’m doing the stairs twice too! By the end of an 8-hour workday, I’ve logged at least 80 minutes of movement and I’m well-hydrated.
This technique is a sneaky way to exercise during the day and doesn’t require changing clothes or taking a second shower. Do whatever movement is comfortable for you and your fitness level. If you’re just starting out, maybe you could march in place or just swing your arms for 5 minutes. If you’ve been working out for a while, you probably have cardio and resistance training covered, so do a few yoga poses to get the kinks out and relieve some stress in the process.
I can’t tell you how much more productive and less creaky I feel when I work this way. Give it a try - maybe it will help you too!