Many people find it difficult to fit the recommended daily 30 minutes or more of walking into weekday routines. It can be hard get out for a walk before work and not everyone has time to get active in the evening. So why not use time spent at the office to get moving, squeezing bursts of activity into a daily routine? After all, it's better to be active all week long than to end five sedentary days with a bout of physical activity at the weekend. Try these five tricks to burn 300 calories in a day at the office.
Walk for 5 minutes every hour
The ideal solution is to get up and go for a short, five-minute walk every hour. Why not go see a colleague at the other end of the office or in a different department, trekking across corridors and staircases if possible. Or go get a glass of water from a water fountain or kitchen on a higher floor, for example. And when heading to the restroom, choose facilities that are far away from your desk. Simply getting up and getting moving eight times a day can soon add up to 40 minutes of physical activity, burning around 300 calories with relative ease.
Don't forget: walking briskly and springing up stairs vigorously burns more calories than plodding wearily around the office.
Stretch legs when sitting down
Like when traveling by plane -- where you can't get up and walk around as often as you might like -- blood circulation can be boosted with a few simple exercises. This will help prevent legs from feeling heavy and stiff. Raise and extend legs one after the other while clenching all leg muscles tightly. Then, rotate ankles clockwise then counter-clockwise, all while keeping abdominal muscles engaged by squeezing them tightly. Your legs will thank you for it in the evening.
Go for a brisk walk at lunchtime
Nothing could be worse than spending your whole lunch hour glued to a smartphone screen. If the weather permits, slip into a pair of comfortable sneakers and get outside for some fresh air. Walking for 30 minutes at a reasonably fast, steady pace (around 3 to 4mph -- 5 to 6km/h) can burn up to 175 calories. Why not turn it into a social activity by getting a few colleagues to come along?
As well as getting oxygen into the body, breathing is a way of relaxing and managing emotions. Plus, good breathing can have beneficial effects on the lymphatic and digestive systems. In fact, taking a series of deep, abdominal breaths several times a day can help cleanse the body. With hands on the abdomen, breathe in and inflate your stomach like a ball while counting to three. Then, breathe out, letting the stomach fall back into place. Repeat the exercise while counting to six when breathing out (do five sets of each).
Come prepared with healthy snacks
Instead of succumbing to chocolatey snacks from the vending machine or tucking into leftover lunch platters, bring a selection of your own healthy and delicious snacks. These could be handfuls of dried fruit, for example, or fresh fruit, a couple of squares of dark chocolate per day, or some crystalized ginger. These snacks will boost energy without adding unwanted pounds -- when consumed in reasonable quantities -- and can help keep you on top form all day long.
To stay motivated, remember that each little burst of activity counts towards burning calories and losing weight. It's better to be active and energetic all week long than simply taking occasional exercise at weekends. And the good news is that the heavier you are the more you'll burn. So what are you waiting for?