Boosting Activity at Work

Boosting Activity at Work

We all know that when it comes to increasing your fitness and decreasing your chance of weight-related illnesses that we need to move more. We know this because the NHS tell us so, because it is all over the news and because everyone on Facebook (apart from me perhaps) seems to go running three times a week or attends a spinning class.

What few people share is how we are supposed to manage to boost our activity levels or more so when. When you are at work from 9 -5pm for example you have a limited number of hours a day during which you have to fit in your housework, your family time, time when you eat, commuting and everything else.

The key it seems is in boosting activity at work. Those in the know over at Simply Health have written this really rather useful article around promoting activity at work. There are some great ideas for you workers here and this is definitely one to forward to your manager (unless accessing personal email at work is a no-go, in which case a random hard copy on their desk ought to do the trick).

Boosting activity at work seems to be a hot topic at the moment with BP having bought their employees wearables such as step trackers and activity monitors in order to monitor and encourage movement during work hours. This move (I believe called the BP Wellness Programme but don’t quote me on that) has been met with mixed receptions as some feel it is great and supportive of BP while others have concerns about it being a bit Big Brother-ish.  BP’s health insurance company no doubt think it’s a fabulous idea. The point here is that even the big businesses are now cottoning onto the fact that boosting activity at work is a good idea.

So what do you do when like me you work from home. I work for myself full-time in my home office. I don’t have a wellness programme or health mentor and I’m not hooked up to a wearable (yet – this is on the cards!).

Here are my tips for increasing activity at work (when at home).

Track Your Movement

First of all find a way to track your movement. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean using a wallet-busting gadget. I currently use a free pedometer app on my phone. It’s great at basic tracking although I’ll soon be using a wearable as this app eats battery. Being aware of your movement helps you set and meet goals.

Talking of Goals, Set Them!

Make your goals SMART and find a way to achieve them. You don’t need to double your steps (etc) in the first day but gradual increases are great for health.

Use the Stairs

My office is upstairs and my kitchen is downstairs. For this reason I tend to bring a flask / snacks etc upstairs so that I don’t find myself grazing during the day. This means fewer steps down to the kitchen which my app doesn’t like. What I do therefore is use the stairs as and when I normally would however when I get to the bottom I go back up again and come down, doubling my stair climbing time. Genius, especially when you add all of the other times i end up back up or down because I’ve forgotten what I went there fore in the first place!

Make Time

I take thirty minutes for my lunch (all I need when my lunch is ready prepared in the morning). Before my thirty minutes I might walk around the block, do a few extra stair climbs or walk around the garden. This helps me build an appetite and boosts my activity.

Get Up Earlier

Those who want to fit in a workout before work have to get up earlier, end of story. The same goes for me even though I work from home. Thankfully I’m an early riser anyway so this gives me an extra 30 minutes to use my baked bean can weights and do another half hour of my Strictly Come Dancing exercise DVD downstairs (don’t be fooled, it’s harder than it looks!).

Just Get Up and Move

Taking a few minutes here and there, standing up, walking around and boosting your activity at work will serve to refocus your brain, increase motivation and productivity and of course make your app or wearable happy. When working on a PC like myself all day it makes good eye health sense to take short breaks too.

It isn’t always easy to boost your activity when you are working, whether you work from home or somewhere else however the benefits to health and well-being  moving more increases makes  the effort is worthwhile.

Do you have any tips for increasing activity when at work? If so I’d love to hear / steal them!

Boosting activity at work, pedometer app
3979 before midday? Could do better! Need to do a few more stair climbs.

Slimming Down to Meet Health Goals

From Xmas Day 2014 to the 7th June 2015. I'm starting to see  a difference for the first time in a long time.
From Xmas Day 2014 to the 7th June 2015. I’m starting to see a difference for the first time in a long time.

Hands up if you’ve been ona diet of some sort on and off for as long as you can remember. Yes, me too.

My metabolism ground to a screeching halt when I was around 18 and has shown no signs of waking up ever since. Add to the mix the fact that I also have PCOS and you get someone who has had to actively diet constantly for years in order to remain a healthy-ish weight. I’m still not where I need to be, not being at goal for a while however at the end of last year my GP finally ripped off the plaster and told me that I was pre-diabetic, heading for Type 2 and that we needed to take action.

I’m now on a hefty dose of Metformin twice a day to control my blood sugars and what not which so far appears to be working. Being on a constant mission to slim down isn’t really something that is easy to maintain motivationwise however now I have definite health goals to aim for and warding off Type 2, a very real threat, is my focus (there’s also potentially a cholesterol thing going on, just to keep things interesting).

I switched a little while ago from Slimming World back to Weight Watchers (I was a gold member back in 2004/5 and haven’t seen the same weight since) to give myself a boost and something of a kickstart and I’m happy to announce that so far, so good.

I’m not usually one for measurements and before and after pictures, especially as this is an ongoing quest for health as opposed to a one road to a certain size however I really did want to share the above with you. Hell, if I can do it anyone can.

Any other Weight Watchers / pre diabetics, long term slimmers out there?