Workday Movement Challenge
Updated: Dec 12, 2021
Think About Your Work Day
Overall, we are sitting more and moving less. Even with our best laid plans, many of us tend to sit for long periods of time and after a long day at work, we may be too tired to get in some exercise. Since the start of 2020, many individuals are working from home or work in a hybrid model - a mix of telework and in the office. I cannot forget about stay-at-home parents who are working all of the time. No matter your working environment or situation, it's easy to get stuck in a rut. Hopefully, by the end of this blog post, you will feel encouraged to implement more movement back into your work day!
How many of us work from a computer and are so in 'the zone' that we don't move away from our desk for several hours in a row? Then when we do, we feel how stiff we are from being in the same position. We tell ourselves we will take a break but how many of us actually do and do so regularly? I admit I have been so engrossed in what I was writing that I have gone several hours without moving or even sipping the glass of water beside me! I'm in my 40s and I can't afford to not move!
On the flip side, how many people have jobs that require you to be on your feet often? Finding the moment to take a break can seem impossible for you as well!
What is the Workday Movement Challenge?
This Workday Movement Challenge is geared towards those who are leading a mostly sedentary life, but can benefit anyone who wants to add purposeful breaks into their day. If you're new to moving your body with intentionality and freedom, start slow and find exercise (forms of movement) that you love/enjoy into your day.
In the quote above, Dr. Bill Sears, utilizes the KISMIF philosophy. That is - Keep It Simple, Make It Fun, and this idea can be applied to any area of your life that you are uncertain about or not thrilled to start. It sounds like it's for kids and that's exactly the point. Go back to your 8-year old self who likely enjoyed moving a lot! Exercise is for everyone.
What's the best form of exercise? -- The one you will do! - Dr. Bill Sears
What's fun and rewarding to you? Do that.
Join me on the Wix app (Spaces: Follow Businesses) and build some intentionality back into our work day! My follow code is in my next newsletter. Be sure to subscribe at the end of the blog post.
DYK? Even short bursts of exercise can be beneficial! While we are focusing on just adding one minute every hour, there are still rewards.
Let me count the ways. Movement relieves stress, increases mental acuity, improves stability, balance, and coordination, and overall promotes cardiovascular wellness.
At one time, our healthcare team advised us to strive for 20 minutes a day five times a week. Who else here was following the outdated guidelines? I learned about increasing my exercise from an hour and a half a week (minimum) to 2.5 hours just this past summer! As of 2018, the recommendation has increased to a minimum of 150 minutes a week. (1)
The science constantly evolves. You may find that one article contradicts another. It's best to always be in communication with your heath care team when starting a new regimen. Bottom line though, no matter how many minutes or what forms of exercise is recommended/advised, we still have to find a way to incorporate more of it into our day.
If you're not sure where or how to begin, try my 'Workday Movement Challenge'. Start by adding just one minute for every hour of work; it'll help you step away from your computer and shift your mind to another important topic - you! This is the reason for this blog post.
This Workday Movement Challenge helps you get back on track. I am a fan of baby steps. If one minute every hour helps you get in more exercise every day and that builds your confidence in your abilities then I'm here for it!
Gain a New Perspective
Many of us often work much longer than 8 hours. Essentially, building in these 1-minute breaks every hour, not only promotes more movement, but also a moment to step away and gain a new perspective. At the end of our awake hours, we could get in 10-14 minutes of intentional and focused movement just by taking a well deserved break.
If you've implemented the STRONGER series into your mornings, you're already getting in one minute of exercise. With this challenge, you will add in an additional 8 to 14 more minutes throughout your work day. While this isn't the 20 or 30 minutes necessary to protect your heart, brain, and other vital organs, it gives you a step up. When you successfully add in breaks throughout your work day, you may find that exercise, eh hmm, movement is fun and over time, you'll see improvements in your awareness, clarity in your thoughts, strength and confidence in your body. <-- That's really the bottom line: how we feel in our own skin!
If you find that your legs hurt after sitting for a long time and you have an ergonomic desk and chair, it could be due to not changing positions. Sitting at a desk, there are movements we can do to exercise our legs to promote blood flow and agility. (2)
"A dozen or so bursts of exercise lasting only a minute, accumulated during the course of the day, provide the same kind of health benefits as the government-recommended 10-minute bouts of moderate exercise, according to researchers at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City." (4)
This, of course, is not enough exercise but it is a start! And sometimes that's all we need - get started to create a new healthy habit.
"Everyone has a starting point. The point is... get started!" - Conveying Awareness
As I shared in the STRONGER blog post, American Heart Association, reports that we ought to aim for "at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week". (1)
While 8-14 minutes isn't 100% adequate -- it does get you back to moving again and if you've been inactive, this may be a good time to kickstart your fitness goals. If you're working with a practitioner on a mobility concern, again, do check in with them first. However, almost anyone can complete some seated exercises. As previously mentioned, working legs (and/or arms) promotes blood flow. One of the skills learned as a client of Conveying Awareness, is a concept shared by Dr. Bill Sears. He speaks about health matters in an easy to understand way. Bottom line, we want to avoid 'sticky stuff' in our body and one of the main ways to do this is through movement. "Our body is designed to move." (4) Plus, it helps to avoid the 'sitting disease'. In our American culture, over the last 50 years, automation has made our lives easier but also encouraged us to be less mobile.
Types of Exercise (Movement)
Over time, you may grow to enjoy movement (exercise). You may want to include more forms of movement throughout your week to get you closer to the 150 minutes of minimum recommended exercise. When you start to add more, keep in mind that a combination of cardio, flexibility, and strength (or resistance) training is necessary to support the entire body (4). Isometrics and mindful breathing are additional options to include as part of your work day and are discussed on Ask Dr. Sears (6). Dr. Bill Sears highly values isometrics because everyone can do them at any time! Even those with different abilities can choose something from the list. Isometrics keeps blood flowing and gently stretches the body. Tip: Two minutes of isometrics before a meal has a hidden benefit. Read the link (#7) to learn more!
On the Harvard Health Blog (5), Dr. Lauren Elson shared exercise recommendations by age starting at 3 through adult. It includes those with chronic conditions, people with differing abilities, and pregnancy and postpartum.
As illustrated in the infographic above, there are a number of exercises that can be completed in one minute and be effective:
a brisk walk
What can you add?
Would you like to learn what types of exercises mesh well with your personality? Try Suzanne Brue's 8 Colors of Fitness quiz to learn more. (8)
"Visualize, plan ahead, and schedule." - Suzanne Brue
Visualizing what you want to achieve and then scheduling it as part of your work day is the follow-through. Completing this Workday Movement Challenge can be a part of the plan!
Shift Your Mindset
Sometimes just a shift in our mindset about getting to in lieu of having to can make a difference in our focus for incorporating some exercise into our day. A friend says she replaces the word, exercise, with a fun activity like dancing. When she's dancing, she is having fun, and she's moving! What fun activities do you like to do when you're trying to add in more movement to your day? Keep a list of ideas written down so you can refer to it as you're ready to take a break.
When we shift our thoughts from "I have to" to "I get to" it literally changes the game. I get to move my body. I get to work out. I get to dance. I get to take a moment for myself. I deserve it. I am valued. I am necessary. I am healthy. I am taking this one minute for me every hour because I need it for my overall health and well-being. And, you can too!
Join Me on the App or in a Small Group Coaching Call
Join me on the app (details in the newsletter) to share how many minutes you are aiming to complete each day for 5 work days. If you'd like to learn more about adding this to your day and want to chat live about it first, schedule a 30-minute online workshop. There are four workshop topics to choose from. Look for Self Worth (option II). Register here. (As a reminder, I serve clients located in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. military stationed around the globe.)
If an 8-hour work day, that is 8 minutes of intentional movement that you get to do.
If you work from home, how many 1-minute breaks can you take?
If you are not working right now, during your awake hours, how many times will you pause for a minute and exercise?
What kinds of movement can be done that's effective? First, think about what you enjoy. Start there. What do you want to try doing? Write a list. Try something from the infographic. I can't wait to hear what you will do!
If you have a job (taking care of people and pets at home counts) where you're on your feet a lot already, how and when can you take a moment to rest? Striking the balance is imperative to your overall health and wellness.
Taking just one minute every hour promotes self-care and reinforces positive boundaries you have put in place.
Now some disclaimers: This program is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, or prevent any disease, condition, or ailment. This information is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Speak with your healthcare provider to see how/if it pertains to your individual needs.
The purpose of this program is added support to your health goals. It is open to app members, newsletter subscribers, and clients. If you find this activity aligns with your health goals, start slow and also listen to and honor your body.
Consider hiring a health coach. See article on the benefits and how to find us!
Subscribe to occasional newsletter here.
© Conveying Awareness with Jessica David
Heart.org (2018). American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids.
Web MD. (n.d.). Exercise At Your Desk. This link includes several ideas for increasing movement while still sitting at your desk.
LiveScience. (2013). No Excuses: Even 1-Minute Workouts Benefit Health.
Ask Dr. Sears. (2020). Dr. Bill’s Five Top New Year’s Health Tips.
Harvard Health Edu. (2019). The new exercise guidelines: Any changes for you?
Ask Dr. Sears. (2020). T5 Wellness Plan. The 5 Best Exercises For Your Mind and Body.
Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. (2021). Exercise For Anyone, Anywhere!
Suzanne Brue. (2021). © The 8 Colors of Fitness Quiz.