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Column: Up to ‘deskercising?’

More research is suggesting that our sedentary lifestyles are contributing to the chronic illness epidemic. As a nation, Canada is dealing with a health crisis and one of the reasons is due to lack of exercise.
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Numerous studies have shown that you are at a minimum 20 per cent more productive at work if you exercise regularly.
More research is suggesting that our sedentary lifestyles are contributing to the chronic illness epidemic.

As a nation, Canada is dealing with a health crisis and one of the reasons is due to lack of exercise. So, why aren’t we listening to the warning signs and incorporating more physical activity into our day?

When I ask people why they don’t exercise on a regular basis they often say, “I don’t have time to exercise.” Yet, David Patchell-Evans, owner of Good Life Fitness, says in his book, Living the Good Life, “numerous studies have shown that, at a minimum, you are 20 per cent more productive if you exercise. That means you create 33 more hours per week by exercising. Your decisions are 20 per cent faster, you have 20 per cent less anxiety, your sleep is 20 per cent deeper. If you invest 1.5 hours a week to exercise you will gain 33 hours of higher productivity.”

That’s a great return on investment.

If you are still struggling to find even 1.5 hours a week to exercise then I would suggest “deskercise,” or workplace exercises, to help you incorporate physical activity into your busy work day.

Squeezing even a few minutes of exercise into your day will be beneficial and will contribute to the recommended 1.5 hours a week of exercise. If you work at a desk (or even if you don’t) here are a few “deskercises” that you can start to include into your busy day.

1. Desk push ups: To increase upper body strength, stand up in front of your desk a few feet away and place your hands on the edge with your feet firmly on the floor. Keep your core engaged and slowly lean in towards the desk and push back up. Repeat 10-15 times.

2. Standing leg curl: To increase strength in your hamstrings, stand in front of your desk with your feet close together. Slowly lift one foot up towards your buttocks and lower back down. Repeat 10-15 times and then change legs.

3. Abdominal pull ups: While sitting up tall in your chair, hang on to the armrests or place hands down next to your thighs and pull your knees up towards your chest. Repeat 10-15 times.

4. Back twists: Standing with your back to the desk, twist till you can touch the desk with at least one hand and look behind you. Hold for five seconds and repeat on the other side.

5. Head tilts: Standing up, grab under the desk with one hand while you gentle tilt your head towards the opposite direction. Hold for five seconds and repeat on the other side.
You can also include cardiovascular activities into your day by taking the stairs as often as possible and making time for brisk walks during your breaks (you may have to force yourself to take that break). By incorporating as many physical movements into your busy work day, then you don’t have to say, “I don’t have time to exercise” because you’ve already fit it into your day.

You can decide to make time for physical exercise or have to make time for illness. It should be an easy decision.

Lisa Lounsbury is the president and founder of New Day Wellness.
 



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