Fitness Question of the Month with Tony Begovich

Tony Begovich, owner of Milan Fitness at Great Shelford, explains how to overcome the obstacles we face in our working lives to maintain a balance between our wellbeing and careers

More and more of us are sitting down for long periods of time and moving less. Our overall wellbeing is suffering and many of us don’t know how to break this cycle of inactivity.

If you can’t dedicate a chunk of your time each day towards exercise then you need to create opportunities to move throughout the day. Here are some habits that you can apply on a daily basis. . .

Park further away from your destination - Whether you are parking at work or a shopping centre, go the extra mile and take a brisk walk to your destination.

Take the stairs - I’m sure you have heard this before but not many people follow through with it, maybe because it’s boring or we are wired to do what is convenient. If you have stairs at work, get there 10 minutes earlier, pop on your headphones and listen to a podcast about something that interests you – and get climbing!

iStock photo for Fitness Q (7681170)
iStock photo for Fitness Q (7681170)

Meetings on the move - Rather than sitting in a meeting room, why not have your team meetings outside on a walk? This might allow colleagues to open up with ideas in different surroundings that are less intimidating. Worst-case scenario you’ll get some fresh air and exercise.

Set an alarm each hour to stand up and move - Sometimes we need a gentle reminder that we’ve been stationary for too long. Set an alarm every hour to prompt you to get up and move. It doesn’t have to be much, 30 seconds or more. It could be walking to get a drink from the water cooler or performing a stretch or a squat.

Office-based stretching

The habits we build at our desk, especially whilst sitting, can contribute to discomfort and health issues, including neck, shoulder and lower back pain. Office based stretches can help alleviate the occupational strains that can occur over time. Here are some stretches you can perform at work to increase your range of motion and flexibility. I suggest that you stand when performing these stretches but you can also carry them out seated if necessary. . .

Neck stretch - Stand or sit with feet hip-width apart, shoulders relaxed and arms by your side. Gently tilt your head to one side so you feel the stretch in the other side of your neck, hold for 15 seconds; repeat on the other side.

Shoulder rolls – Stand or sit with feet hip-width apart, shoulders relaxed and arms by your side. Keeping your back straight, shrug your shoulder upwards while then rotating shoulders backwards making small circles. Repeat for 10-20 repetitions.

Lower back stretch - Stand or sit with feet hip-width apart. Bending at the waist, lower your head and shoulders towards the floor with both arms hanging loosely in front of you – touch the floor if you can! Hold for approximately five seconds. Bend your knees a little more and tuck your hips underneath as you slowly roll back up, one vertebra at a time, to a standing positon.

Make room for play

Sometimes we view exercise as a chore or something we feel obliged to do. This doesn’t have to be the case and in fact you are more likely to be committed to something if it brings you some level of enjoyment. Activities that could benefit you physically and socially include playing on a work team (five-a-side football or touch rugby); tennis or squash with a friend; playing tag with your kids or performing animal movements with them, e.g. gorilla crawls, bear crawls, inchworms.

Whatever your preference - stretching, football, tackling the office stairs – just simply getting on the move will reinvigorate body and mind.

Milan Fitness Cambridge | Photo: (7681172)
Milan Fitness Cambridge | Photo: (7681172)

Milan Fitness, which offers a fully equipped gym, flexible personal training, outdoor bootcamps and corporate wellbeing services, is based at Shelford Rugby Club, The Davey Field, Cambridge Road, Great Shelford, CB22 5JJ.

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