Fall is always a wonderful time of year. It means back to school or back to work with a regular schedule, and usually, more money and responsibility. This is great, and fall is personally my favorite season, but it’s one of the trickiest times of the year to say fit.
It’s getting cool outside and everyone is getting busier, so we’re spending much more time being inside. Plus, this means we’re more likely to be sitting around and snacking while being sedentary, and we’re also more likely to be spending all our weekends inside with Netflix, pumpkin ale and a sweet treat instead of out hiking, biking or camping. It’s inevitable; we have to slow down a little during the fall months. After all, it is part of our natural cycle as mammals. But we also want to stayhealthy and fit, while still working hard.
Here are a few of the best ways to stay in shape sitting down this fall.
1. Sit up straight and flex your stomach.
One of the best tricks for staying healthy while working out is posture. If you’re slumped over, you aren’t getting any exercise, but if you are sitting straight up and keeping your posture strong, you are actually working out your ab muscles and stretching your back. You can also work mini exercises into your sitting hours.
Flex and unflex your abs to work out your stomach while sitting – it’s easy and won’t be a visible exercise to your co-workers, but is like doing mini crunches in terms of its effects. Livestrong suggests you also rotate your wrists, ankles and shoulders to keep blood flowing. You can also do Kegels, which help strengthen your pelvic muscles and will make between-the-sheets time with your significant other even better when you get home from work.
2. Take frequent mini exercise breaks.
Most people take a lot of breaks while they are working but often to do unhealthy things. The cigarette break is a staple of working and academic life, and most offices and schools are stocked with vending machines chock full of empty calories and sugar to tempt you while you are working.
Keep taking those frequent breaks, every half hour if your schedule allows. They will keep you sane and stress-free, and the relaxation time you give your mind will actually help you get more done in the long run. But instead of using your break time to eat junk food or smoke, just take a walk around the block, or around the building if the weather is nasty, instead. This will help you get in your cardio, and also provide a much needed respite from your work day.
3. Try biking or walking instead of driving or RTD.
When heading to work, the temptation is often to get there as quickly as possible. The less time you spend commuting, the more time you have to get work done, and to relax before and after work and enjoy your life. But that means that your only options for commuting are driving or sitting inside public transportation.
To get more out of your work day, try biking or walking to work instead. If the commute is unimaginably long, strike a compromise. Bring your bike on the bus or light rail and bike half way, or get off at the stop before your work and walk the rest of the way. This tiny bit of exercise will actually add up – you could end up walking several extra miles per week, which will keep you fit and help you start your work day on a strong note, or relax and wind down on the walk or bike ride home.
4. Use your time off for serious working out.
To really get some good exercise in, try to hit the gym or go for a run before work, on your lunch break or the hour afterwords before you head home for dinner or go meet a friend for a drink. This kind of structure will actually make it easier to work out, instead of trying to do it on your day off and putting it off or wanting to relax.
Instead, you will just see the workout as another necessary part of your work day. Try scheduling a gym trip just one or two days a week before or after work, and see what a difference it makes.
5. Curb the tendency to snack while working, or snack healthy.
One of the biggest temptations while on the job, at school or working from home is to grab the first available food, whether it’s a bag of chips, a candy bar or a calorie-loaded sandwich, and start snacking. After all, you are way too busy to go find something healthy, cook anything or bring your own food from home. How could you possibly fit that in on top of all the work you have to do?
To make it easy for yourself, bring a snack that is healthy but easy, like hummus and carrot sticks. You get all the convenience of grab-and-go food that doesn’t have to be prepared but without the guilt later. If you have to go out to eat for lunch at work, take advantage of all the awesome fast-casual dining options in Denver, and snag a vegetarian burrito or a noodle bowl with chicken in the same amount of time it would take to get a burger and fries.
All in all, don’t be afraid to treat yourself a little and enjoy fall – this season is so excellent because of pie, pumpkin ale, Halloween candy and relaxation – but be sure to keep health in mind while you sit down to work this year.