With the busy holiday season in full swing, your fitness routine is likely getting pushed to the back burner. But you can make fitness a steady part of your life this winter by making just a few tweaks to your commute and workday. (Come January, you’ll be thankful you did!)
Here are eight ideas you can implement now to stay active all winter long.
1. Hop on that bike
If your commute allows, think about ditching your car for a bicycle a few times a week this winter. You’ll get in a great cardio workout and start and end the day feeling refreshed. And despite a few chilly days, overall we have fairly mild winters in the Northwest. If pedaling your way to work sounds like an appealing option to you, check out our tips for biking to work all year long.
2. Get off a stop earlier
Taking the bus to work? Try hopping off one or two stops earlier and start your day with a few brisk blocks by foot. Increasing your walk to work by even just 10 minutes each way can get add up to an extra 10,000 steps per week!
3. Kick off an office-wide fitness challenge
Nothing brings co-workers together like some good ol’ competition. This winter, launch an office-wide fitness challenge and pit teams against each other. See who can track the most planks, wall-sits, pushups or miles before the New Year. Set up a public spot for teams to track progress, and offer a prize for the winning group.
4. Try a lunchtime fitness class
Get to know your co-workers and rally together for an hour of midday exercise. If you pick a lower-intensity class like barre or slow yoga, you can freshen up quickly and get back to work in no time. Remember to bring some healthy snacks to keep your energy levels up – there are plenty of options from these guys here.
5. Schedule regular walking meetings
Ditch the laptops and conference rooms and take your 1:1 meetings outside. Jot down a quick agenda on a sticky note before you go and chat through while you walk. You’ll be amazed by how a little fresh air and time without screens can help you problem solve and brainstorm.
6. Ditch the chair for a standing desk
Sitting is the new smoking. Okay, so maybe it isn’t quite as bad for you, but the more time you spend sitting, the more likely you are to develop heart disease, diabetes and a host of other health issues – even if you exercise regularly. If your company allows, try switching to a standing desk setup. By standing just 3–4 hours a day, you can burn up to 30,000 extra calories a year (8lbs of fat!). If a standing desk just isn’t an option, make sure you’re taking regular breaks to walk around or stretch.
7. Take the stairs
This is a simple one, but you have to make it a habit for it to really stick. Whenever you have a choice between an escalator/elevator and a set of stairs, choose door number two! Use a steps tracker (like a Fitbit) for motivation and to track your daily steps – you can even find stylish Fitbit bands to help match your device to your personal style. You’ll see the difference a few extra flights can make to your energy level.
8. Set 15-minute breaks every 90 minutes
The New York Times reports that we’re most productive when we work in 90-minute blocks of time. So there’s your extra incentive to take regular breaks and get your body moving – not only will it help you stay fit, it’ll help you do your job! Every 90 minutes, instead of checking Facebook or email, head outside for a short walk, do some easy and invigorating stretches or just spend some time on your feet, the break room or somewhere else in the office. When you return to your desk for 90 minutes of more work, your mind and body will be awake and ready.