Ten Ways To Exercise At Work

I bought a YMCA membership. It’s on the “nice” part of town, it’s always fully staffed, the people are nice. I get what I need when I’m there. But is still takes 90 minutes of my day. And I can’t figure out where to fit it in.

As often as I can, I fit it in while I’m working.

Now, bear in mind, I work on a 33-acre campus. Making rounds can mean walking nearly two miles a day if I’ve got the energy. And that’s the key to all these tips: Make the most of your active day and take advantage of energy whenever you find yourself “in the zone.”

  1. Deliver a heavy package to a resident. Perhaps your Activities Director would usually do this. Next time the mail comes, grab that special delivery. Carrying a 25 pound package across your facility is good exercise, and it’s an extra opportunity for you to touch base with a resident on social circumstances.
  2. Participate in a high-octane employee activity. You always hear about the facilities that hold the “Wheelchair Olympics.” Take on an employee-retention activity that involves some physical activity and a little friendly competition – and get involved.
  3. Shovel the snow. We had a facility crisis this winter that I would classify as “all-hands-on-deck.” Amongst the things that needed done with nobody to volunteer was clearing major walks until snowplows could get our direction. Perhaps you are most valuable moving dressers or dumping water. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a shovel – once other key players are involved.
  4. Sort wheelchair equipment. This was the first true “manual labor” I ever witnessed my first preceptor performing (and certainly not the last). It’s always struck me as something valuable that I could do. Needs done and nobody wants to do it. Don’t do this one too often. Use this one good workout to develop a better system for equipment tracking.
  5. Park and take the deposit inside. Maybe you make the twice-weekly bank runs yourself. Instead of going through the drive-through, park at the far end of the parking lot and walk it in. You probably will find that you don’t lose any time.
  6. Make daily outdoor rounds part of your schedule. An examination of utility devices, structural integrity, safety, and curbside appeal are worth a daily 15-minute walk around the perimeter.
  7. Serve a resident meal from start-to-finish. Prep the coffee, fill the condiments, straighten the silverware. Take orders and serve five to a table. Work for those tips (compliments from wonderful old ladies) and sweat it out for 30 minutes. Clear the plates and help push chairs in. Don’t brag about it, just do it.
  8. Do a one-on-one inservice with every employee – yourself. You have those important topics: A Plan of Correction reminder, an impromptu meeting, a time-sensitive announcement. Hit the pavement, talk it up, and burn some calories connecting with every employee on multiple shifts.
  9. Bounce around the room. If you’re having a high-energy afternoon but really need to stay behind the desk to get organized, do it standing. I find that keeping up in the office helps me stay energized, limber and moving around. Calories in, calories out.
  10. Hit the kitchen. Not for a snack. There are so many places in a kitchen that are “underneath.” Get down on all fours and check important places: behind refrigerators, under stoves, back corners of lower shelves, and the backs of deeply-filled janitor’s closets. This is a worthy task. Pest control requires vigilant sanitation in even the best kitchens.

Be conscious about the amount of time you spend on physical activities at work. Make a point to use your energy when you have it. You can be useful without being “too hands on” and meet resident and employee needs at the same time. Picking up just a couple of these tips can help you burn an extra 200-300 calories per day, which is the equivalent of walking 2-3 miles.

Feel free to share other tips in the comments section.

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