The Sneaky Reason Your Workout Is NOT Working As Well As You Think

workout not workingWhen you work full-time, getting to the gym every day can be a struggle. But how good does it feel, getting to the office knowing you've already clocked up an hour of exercise for the day? No one can take that workout away from you, no matter what happens in your work day.

Well, actually, if you're spending your day sitting at a desk or in a sedentary position, an alarming study has found that your workout may not actually be doing you much good. Just six hours of sitting a day effectively wipes out the cardiovascular benefits of one hour of exercise.

Scary, right? But don't despair! Even if you do work in an office or have to spend prolonged hours sitting, there are ways to make your workout count again.

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The good news is that the study also found that when faced with a sedentary day, any kind of movement helped reverse the negative impact of sitting and resulted in increased cardiovascular fitness levels. That means even getting up to stretch your back, walking around for a couple of minutes, or just standing instead of sitting can help negate the impact of hours at your desk.

While that's good news, it's easier said than done to have yet another task to remember during your workday. Try these four tips to make moving a seamless part of your routine:

1.) Set an alarm. There are lots of free apps available to set yourself reminders to get up, whether it's just to stand and stretch, or to take a quick five-minute break. You could even use your alarm function on your phone and set alarms throughout the day to remember to move.

2.) Become a creature of habit. If there's a certain task you focus on at different points throughout your day, use that habit that's already in place to remind you to move.

Every time you make a call, your new habit could be to stand while talking on the phone. Or make a point to stand and stretch whenever you finish one task and move on to the next.

3.) Make life a little more difficult. It's easy to get comfortable at your desk with everything you need within arm's reach. With your work in front of you, snacks in a drawer, and water bottle on your desk, you're setting yourself up to sit all day.

Switch your water bottle for a small glass you need to get up to refill at the cooler. Don't keep food at your desk so you need to walk somewhere to eat. Put something you use regularly out of reach so you give yourself a reason to get up.

4.) Change your environment. Movement doesn't have to be at specific times when you get up to take a break. Build it into your existing environment by changing up the way you work.

Try converting your desk to a standing desk (even if that just means setting your computer up in an elevated position so you have to stand to use it), use an exercise ball instead of a chair, take stairs instead of elevators, or stand during meetings. 

Easy, right? Even just trying out one of these tips can help you stay healthy throughout your day and make sure all that sweating in the gym really counts.

What's your best tip for taking breaks? Do you take breaks?

 

Image © iStock.com/M_a_y_a

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