Keep Your Mind Sharp by Staying Fit at the Office

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It is no doubt that exercise is essential to brain health.

But as a working woman and a mom, sometimes getting to the gym during the week seems next to impossible.

Once you have kids, getting to the gym before work is nothing more than a fantasy. After work, most people are tired from a stressful day of work. And the day isn’t over! There are kids to drive around, homework to help with and dinner to get prepared. Whew!

To make matters worse, research revealed that 77% of call center and office based employees spend their working day is spent sitting. We now know that long periods of sitting are as bad for your health as smoking, not to mention coping with stress. The effects of inactivity has long-reaching effects on our health in such ways as obesity, heart problems, depression and diabetes

Parenting, long meetings, aggressive book deadlines and hectic travel schedules force us to be creative with scheduling workouts. But instead of thinking, “I don’t have time to workout”, I know it’s not an option. As someone who has been very ill in the past, I know I don’t have time NOT to exercise. By having this attitude, I will always find a way. By staying active at the office, I am able to keep my mind sharp. Here are a few of my favorite tips for staying fit in the office: 

  1. Use a pedometer or fit bit. This will help you assess how many steps you take throughout your work day. It’s amazing how just being aware and having a goal will cause you to move more.
  2. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  3. Schedule “walking meetings”. Daniel often has people walk with him to discuss work matters, or he schedules phone meetings so he can walk while he talks. We both find that we think better on the move.
  4. Devote 15- 20 minutes to go on a power walk for your lunch break, and take a co-worker with you.
  5. Ask co-workers if they want to pitch in for an inexpensive ping-pong table so you can play at lunch. We provided one for our staff members and now we have an office tournament going. In addition to the exercise, coordination enhancement  and brain stimulation this provides, we’ve seen wonderful bonding between our staff members as a result.
  6. Stretch your stress away. Tension in your shoulders, neck and back is easy to release with some simple stretches using your office chair.
  7. Use an exercise ball for a chair. Unlike sitting in a chair, sitting on an exercise ball engages your core muscles and helps improve balance and flexibility.
  8. My treadmill desk is the best investment I’ve made as an author who normally has to write for long periods at a time. Walking at a very slow pace while I write or answer email has completely changed my focus and energy.
  9. I keep a change of clothes and deodorant at the office. If I have a long day, I make sure to block out an hour for a workout. I can either do this in the small space available in my office or at the gym (which is a short drive). I’ve learned to embrace being sweaty. A quick splash to the underarms and some deodorant is usually enough to get me through until I get home. I’d rather be a little sweaty and healthy, than glamorous and full of disease causing inflammation. There’s nothing glamorous about that!

Please share your ideas for staying fit at work. I love hearing from you. If you enjoy my weekly tips, I invite you to check out our two new books, which are filled with hundreds of tips to help you win the war for the health of your brain and body! The Brain Warrior’s Way and The Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook are now available for pre-order here.

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