We’ve all been told time and time again that exercise is one of the best ways to help manage diabetes. While hitting the gym, playing sports, and talking long walks after dinner are excellent ways to stay active, the amount of exercise you get during the work day can be just as important for your health. Try these five easy tips to help you better manage your diabetes at work by stepping away from the desk and getting up on your feet throughout the day.
1. Start with a pedometer.
A 2010 study featured in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that the average American takes a little more than 5,000 steps each day. According to WebMD, however, we should be aiming for about twice that number. By investing in a pedometer, you can set a visual walking goal and then keep track of your progress. Physicians at WebMD recommend starting small by adding an additional 250 steps to your day and then gradually increasing over time. You’ll probably be surprised by how quickly those little changes add up.
2. Find a farther parking spot.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most Americans spend around two hours sitting in a car each day. Whether your commute is five minutes or 50, parking in a further–but still safe spot–gives you the opportunity to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and sneak in a few more steps during the day.
3. Stand during phone calls.
Looking for a break at work but can’t get away from your desk? Just stand up. An article on Livestrong.com says standing alone burns 50 times more calories per hour than sitting. If typing at your desk is a little difficult on your feet, try standing while you’re on the phone. If you use a cell phone or Bluetooth headset in the office, pace the halls to add some movement during that long afternoon conference call.
4. Use the stairs.
In addition to providing a great cardio workout, taking the stairs also helps build muscle in your hips, knees, legs, and ankles, Livestrong.com says. Instead of using the elevator in your parking garage, try walking up the stairs before work. If you park in a traditional lot, no sweat. Take the stairs from your building’s lobby to your office. For a break during the day, try using the bathroom on a different floor. Bonus points if you go up more than one flight.
5. Avoid lunch at your desk.
A German study recently showed that eating at your desk is bad for your health and productivity. Scientists found that the bodies of people who skip a regular lunch break have a harder time breaking down the food into glucose molecules needed for energy. Instead of working straight through the afternoon, pack a healthy, homemade lunch and head to the cafeteria with a friend. The added movement can provide your body and your mind with a nice change of pace.
6. Suggest walking meetings.
Well-known companies, such as Apple in California and Nike headquarters in Oregon, have taken their meetings out of the conference room and into the hallway. Studies have shown that employees who engage in walking meetings are more creative and attentive. The next time an important staff meeting rolls around, find out if you can do it on your feet. This new trend not only improves your health but it gets your office up and moving, too.