5 Moves to Get Your Heart Beating on Your Lunch Break
By Filip Nonkovic for Discover and Play
We all can fall victim to our desks, but sitting from 9 to 5 all day can be a drain on our health. Here are five ways to get your blood pumping without breaking into a heavy midday sweat.
1. It’s all about intensity, not duration.
Studies show that only three minutes of high-intensity exercise per week can yield a lot of the same benefits as hours of low- to medium-intensity workout. Get your blood pumping and your heart pounding with 15 seconds of high intensity, hard-as-you-can jumping jacks. It’ll do wonders for your body and at only a quarter of a minute, you won’t break a sweat.
2. Stand more.
Okay, this one isn’t just for the lunch break, but sitting is the silent killer. Human beings evolved as long-distance endurance hunters; we’re just not built for the kind of long-term, 9 to 5, five-days-per-week sitting that most white collar jobs demand of us. Spend as much time standing as you can. Try to get a standing desk, if possible. If not, go for frequent bathroom breaks — research suggests that just a five minute walk can undo the harmful effects of a full hour of sitting. Not bad!
3. Walk as you eat.
Some meals demand that we sit down and give them our full attention. Others, like sandwiches, gyros, a slice of pizza, or a burrito (really, anything that comes wrapped in tinfoil or that won’t fall apart on you) are easy to eat on-the-go. Burn some extra calories by taking a turn around the office, or the block, while you eat. It sure beats more sitting.
4. Keep some dumbbells at your desk.
Weightlifting burns calories by causing micro tears in your muscles, which your body then spends energy repairing. Unlike running, where you have to keep ramping up your workout week after week or your metabolism adapts and you stop losing weight, weightlifting is a sure thing for burning some calories — and as an added bonus, you’ll tone up those muscles. Keep a few 5-pound free weights by your desk and do some curls during your lunch break. When it starts to feel easy, consider upgrading to 10-pounders.
5. Try wall push-ups.
Maybe your office doesn’t have a ton of floor space. Maybe you don’t want people looking at you funny. Maybe your chest and shoulders just aren’t what they used to be. No problem — find a patch of bare wall, plant your hands on it, and do some wall push-ups! They’re lower-impact than the standard variety and are easier for beginners, but people at all levels of fitness benefit from them. Plus, they’re perfect for cramped office environments! And best of all? You can do wall push-ups until your entire upper body is burning, but you still won’t break a sweat and need to run home for a shower. This exercise burns calories without turning you into a sopping mess.