How to Get Your Daily Fitness Fix – Vanessa Tai

Scenario: You pack your gym bag in the morning, your heart filled with resolve that you’ll hit the treadmill after work. However, when 6pm rolls about, you’re either too drained from the day’s work or you’re still typing away furiously at your computer, trying to meet a deadline. Grand plans for working out gets trashed … again.

Sounds familiar? You’re not alone. I believe this scene plays out in offices all over the world. It’s the same for me; I’ll pack my bag and tell myself I have to make it for netball no matter what, but whenever it’s time to leave the office, I find myself either too tired or too caught up with work. Of course, all these missed workout sessions add up, and you may soon find yourself feeling increasingly lethargic or falling sick more often. And it’s no wonder; it’s a well-known fact that regular exercise – at least 30 minutes daily – is vital to keep our energy levels up as well as keep diseases at bay.

Because I often find it hard to find the motivation to exercise, I’m so grateful to be part of a team where fitness is a big deal. Ed-in-chief Deborah and sub-editor Lili are boot camp devotees (read more about their experiences here), features editor Denise is into muay thai, fashion editor Janice does daily power walks … but it’s not just the editorial team members who are active. Our art team also makes it a point to swim at least once or twice a week during lunch-time. Today, I finally decided to join them.

At first, it felt a bit weird to be splashing about in a pool in the middle of a workday. During my first couple of laps, I still had thoughts like, “Oh dear, I haven’t sent out that email,” or “I need to contact so-and-so for my story” running through my mind, but after awhile, I started to get into the proverbial “Zone” and I swam happily for about 20 more minutes. After the swim, I felt incredibly refreshed and invigorated, ready to tackle whatever the afternoon had in store for me. Even better, now that I’ve gotten my 30 minutes of exercise out of the way, I don’t feel as guilty about not hitting the gym this evening. So if you’re like me and always find yourself too busy/knackered after work to work out, how about trying out some simple lunchtime exercises? Here I’ve listed down a couple of suggestions that you can try.

1. Swimming

Unlike running or hitting the gym, you won’t be all-sweaty when you return to the office. Plus, all you need to pack is a swimsuit and towel; no need for cumbersome running shoes. However, this probably only works if you have a pool near your office.

Fitness Points: 4/5
Level of Convenience:  3/5

2. Yoga

If you have a conference room or a private room with a TV/DVD player set-up, you could always do some midday deep stretching alongside an instructional yoga video. If you don’t want to lug your mat about every day, just leave it in the office. No fuss, no muss (and no perspiration too!)

Fitness Points: 3/5
Level of Convenience: 5/5

3. Stair Climbing

I used to do this all the time at previous workplaces. After lunch, I would climb the stairs (usually up to about seven storeys) about two to three times, just to get the ol’ heart pumping. Not only does it energise me, I also felt like my legs and bum became a little more toned after several months of keeping at it. Score!

Fitness Points: 4/5
Level of Convenience: 5/5

Of course, there are plenty of other exercise options that you can squeeze into your one hour or so of lunch break. You just need a little creativity.  It definitely helps if your colleagues are in on it too so that you can spur each other on. If you’re sitting at your work desk now at your lunch hour, wishing you could be out there working out, email this link to your cubicle buddy and set something up now!

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