A lot of teachers make the mistake of thinking that in order to get quality exercise they must crank out an hour or two at the gym. But when it comes to exercise, stolen moments add up! Here are 8 clever ways to sneak in exercise at work, whether it’s in your classroom, the hallways, or gym!
1. Start your day off right.
Get up just a few minutes early and do a quick sequence of exercises before you start your morning routine. Try crunches, planks, push ups, anything that gets your heart pumping and your muscles warmed up. It will only take five to ten minutes but it will set the tone for your whole day. And if you can’t fit in a full workout for the day, at least you’ve done something!
2. Aim for short bursts.
For a typical busy teacher, the most pressing question about exercise is: How little can I get away with? The answer, according to an intriguing study from McMaster University, may be very, very little. In fact, their study on the effectiveness of interval training showed that just 60 seconds of strenuous exertion improves health and fitness as much as 45 minutes of moderate exercise.
That’s great news for teachers! Here are seven 60-second power exercises that’ll get your heart racing. Anytime you have a quick minute, pick one and go! Make a master list of your favorites and check off each one after you complete it.
3. Make desk time productive time.
Not that many teachers these days spend time parked behind their desk, but for the rare moments that you are working in a seated position, why not switch out your office chair for a stability ball? You’ll be working on firming your core without even thinking about it. For other times that you may be sitting for an extended time, these simple desk exercises will help you keep the blood flowing.
4. Sneak in a few yoga poses.
Or, if yoga is your thing, here are simple yoga stretches you can do at your desk. Or when the kids are out of the room, get down on the floor. Better yet, have the kids join you in a few yoga poses for a brain break.
5. Make your steps count.
Pick up the pace and power walk wherever you need to go during the day. Take the long route when you need to go to a different part of the building. Take a quick walk outside during your planning period or lunch. If you need to talk with a teammate, suggest you have a walking meeting—anything you can do to get extra steps during the day. Invest in a step counter. Set a goal and program it to buzz you every hour if you have not met your goal.
According to Shape magazine, fidgeters (those who engage in spontaneous and constant minor activity) can burn around 108 extra calories daily just from refusing to sit still. That adds up to burning an extra pound per month. Not monumental but hey, it’s good news for those of us with ants in our pants.
7. Turn wait time to flex time.
Whenever the spotlight is not shining on you is the perfect opportunity for a few targeted muscle exercises. Contract your core muscles and hold 30 seconds. Flex your abs, glutes, quads or do calf raises. Try this while you’re standing at the back of the gym during assemblies, while students are giving oral reports, or during staff meetings. You’ll be paying attention but also be getting a mini-workout.
8. Use the buddy system.
Intentionally schedule in a few “breaks” in your day with a coworker. When you’re out at recess duty, walk the perimeter together. Do wall push-ups together while you check in before school starts. Use an app to do a short workout during your lunch break. See if you can organize a group workout in the school gym or cafeteria before or after school. You’ll save time not driving across town to the gym and have the support of your co-workers.
How do you sneak in exercise at work? We’d love to hear in the comments.
Top image from @learnmoveteachsmile on Instagram.