Initially, we had hoped to travel in our camper van for a long period of time. Earning money while living on the road ended up being more difficult than we had imagined.
After looking for seasonal work for weeks we decided there was another way to explore countries thoroughly. In August, we were offered a job and relocated to Ireland to start working in an office in Dublin. This offers us a chance to get to know the locals during the week, and see the country on the weekends.
Part of our van life adventure was having the option to be active whenever we wanted. Working in an office now is quite a stark contrast. It means that we will often be sitting at a desk all day. We thought that we would have difficulty finding time to exercise, but in all honesty it has been a breeze!
Those of us who work a full-time job need not worry. There are many ways to stay fit and healthy, regardless of the number of hours you spend behind a desk! We’ve compiled a list of easy things that you can do to stay fit working full time. You’ll quickly realize that finding time to exercise during your full-time job is simple.
The importance of exercise
We all know that exercise is essential for weight maintenance and weight loss. If you want to stay fit and keep your body in shape, exercise should be one of the core factors in the process. Even without losing weight, regular exercise will actually help you combat diseases and health conditions, but above all will make you feel great!
Aside from health benefits, exercise is good for your mind. Ever heard of a runner’s high? An exercise session produces brain chemicals that make us happy! After exercising, you’ll be able to sleep better and deeper. Though exercising will make you tired, it will eventually leave you more rested with more energy, strength, and endurance. It can improve your appearance, which indirectly boosts your self-esteem. Who knows, that might even improve other aspects of your life!
So if you were wondering why you should make time to exercise, you have plenty reasons now.
1. Get up early
Staying fit at work begins at home. You might not be a morning person, but waking up a bit earlier is not that bad. Let’s be honest, setting the alarm for 5.30am versus 6am does not make a world of a difference. Those of us who prefer to sleep in will be tired and angry at our alarm clocks anyways!
So, get up half an hour earlier and do something active. You don’t have to perform any intense things, but simply get your body moving. I’d suggest taking a short stroll around the neighbourhood, or doing a stretching exercise. By the time you head to work, you’ll be much more awake and ready to get started!
We wake up at 5.30am, slowly get dressed, and head outside around a quarter to six to take our dogs for a walk or run beside the bicycle. We have to be back to prepare for work at 6.30, so our dogs’ activities for the morning depend on our determination to get out of bed. That’s a great motivation to get out of bed early and move our bodies.
We prioritize our pets’ well-being and don’t mind adjusting our schedule to fit their needs. Combining pet ownership with a full-time job is definitely not easy, but we’ll dive into that subject some time in the near future.
2. Exercise on your way to work
Unless your office is located at home, you’ll have to travel a certain amount of time to arrive at work. If your commute is not too long, you might just be able to exercise twice a day and limit the amount of money spent on public transport or gas bills at the same time!
For the past ten or so years, my dad and stepmom have cycled to work. My dad’s route is approximately 5 miles, whereas my stepmom has to cover a distance of 11 miles. Covering this distance twice a day would not be comfortable for her on a regular bike, so she has an electronically supported bicycle that allows her to use an active form of transport rather than sitting in a vehicle. Unless the roads are icy, she’s out on the roads five days a week and stays fit doing so. Despite having a longer travel time to work compared to taking the car, they also find time to walk for at least an hour every evening. Now that’s something we could all take an example of!
If your office has shower facilities, running or jogging to work might be an option too. If the distance is too large, consider taking public transport halfway and run form there! You’ll be thankful to have woken up early, as it’ll allow you to take a good breakfast and let it rest for a bit before exercising. If you’re commuting by car with a friend, why not walk to their place instead of letting them pick you up? Or cycle halfway to a point where you can safely lock your bike, and meet your friend there!
3. Walk during breaks
If you are sitting at a desk all day, taking a little stroll every once in a while can be very relaxing. Although you might prefer to sit down to eat a salad, or for any other lunch that requires cutlery, quite a few types of food can be eaten standing up.
We both work 40 hours a week. We spend nine hours at work each day of which one hour can be spent on breaks. During our morning- and afternoon coffee breaks (during which neither of us drinks coffee), we often take a walk around the business park to enjoy the fresh air and stretch our legs. We often have meetings in other buildings which allows us to stretch our legs a little more often as well.
4. Do exercises at your desk
Though you may prefer to do intense exercises in your own time, you can do short sessions at your desk as well. This is particularly helpful to make sure your body can recover from the hours of sitting in one position. Areas in your body that can be stiff include your neck, shoulders, and knees.
Afraid that you’ll smell after your exercise sessions? Don’t sweat it. These short workouts are not intense, but your body will thank you!
The list below has a variety of exercises that are all different, and we love the idea of the knee bends and upper body stretching sessions, as they counteract the hunched desk position that many office-workers tend to have.
- Desk yoga
- 10 simple office exercises
- Knee bends
- 5 desk exercises
- Upper body stretch
- 10 minute desk workout standing
5. Organize a daily stretching session
Afraid to be the odd one out? Invite your colleagues to join in! A stretching session at the end of every morning might be a great way to increase team productivity in your office. Your employer might allow you to take 10 minutes a day to organize a stretching session for all of your workmates. That’d be a great way to stay healthy at work, together! Which in the end, is of course lucrative for your boss too!
A few of our colleagues have organised such a session to take place twice a week at 10.30. For about 10 minutes, the coffee lounge is occupied by 20 people moving their arms and legs and rotating their heads. This is accompanied by laughter (most likely because the area isn’t very spacious and people bump into one another from time to time), and brightens the mood of the partakers every single time. When the weather allows it, the session of course takes place outdoors to enjoy the sunshine.
Instead of stretching, you could go on a walk together as well. If your colleagues are not up for any group activities, simply explain why you decided to start stretching a few times a day. They might be interested to join in or do something similar themselves.
6. Be active in the evenings
Instead of spending all evening watching Netflix (we agree, it’s tempting), nip outside for a run through the park or a stroll through town. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes. You’ll feel better both physically and mentally.
If you find it boring to spend time exercising outdoors, there are a few things you can do to keep your mind busy! Aside from the obvious, listening to music, you can find a good audiobook to listen or podcast to follow. Before our camper van adventure I listened to podcast episodes of ProBlogger and Stuff You Should Know. Every day, I’d either figured out a way to improve our website or learnt a new interesting fact.
If you do decide to have a nice meal and spend the rest of your night indoors, there are workout routines that you can do whilst binge-watching your favorite series. How about some squats and jumping-jacks?
If you prefer to spend time with friends after work, invite them over to exercise together, walk over to the grocery store to do some shopping, and cook a healthy meal. You’ll have hours to socialize and since you’re together, the small amount of competition will make the both of you work just a little harder without even realizing it 😉
7. Spend time outdoors on the weekends
On the weekend, it’s time to rewind, relax, and recharge. This does however not mean that you have to sit around doing nothing. Instead of lounging, we prefer to explore new areas. We recently relocated to Ireland, and intend on spending every weekend visiting small picturesque towns and exploring the vast and hilly landscapes. This allows us to be active whilst finding all the lovely things the country has to offer. Why would we sit on the sofa in the weekends if we are already sitting at a desk all day five days a week?
If you don’t like hiking, exploring, or being outdoors in general, there are many other ways to exercise on the weekends. If you have errands to run, go by foot instead of taking the car. Put on some music when vacuuming your home, and dance your way through the spring cleaning!
But let’s be honest. ‘Finding time to exercise’ should not be difficult on the weekends if you work full-time. That job is for the weekdays. The weekend is 48 hours of time that you can spend however you want it, there must be way to take out some time both days to get moving!