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Wellness Center

Exercise at Work

05/09/2008

Question:

Since the weather is starting to get nice again, my colleagues and I were interested in starting an exercise program during our lunch break. What are some suggestions for physical fitness that can fit in 1/2 hour? We would like to try to have some variety, so we don`t get bored.

Answer:

One of the best ways to get out and enjoy the nice weather, get some exercise, and bond with your co-workers is to form a walking group at lunch. Start by using a pedometer to map out 2000 step routes around your workplace. Map out several alternate routes to allow for variety and decrease boredom. Ideally, all walking group participants could benefit from the use of a pedometer. All participants need to walk in appropriate, supportive shoes, such as walking or athletic shoes.

Be sure to start off slowly to warm-up. After 15 - 20 minutes of walking it is beneficial to check your level of intensity. Three methods to measure exercise intensity include:

The Talk Test is a simple way to judge intensity. You should be able to carry on a conversation comfortably. If breathing becomes difficult, the intensity is too great.

The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale is an excellent tool. To improve your cardiovascular health, try to walk at an intensity level in the "somewhat hard to hard" range on the scale. A full description of the rating scale and how to use it can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Physical Activity for Everyone: Perceived Exertion website.

A third method is to calculate your individual target heart rate range

Remember to include stretching to your exercise session. Stretching is appropriate after a few minutes of warming up and at the end of the walk. Especially pay attention to the muscles of the lower body; the calves, hamstrings (back of thigh) and quadriceps (front of thigh). As always, participants should consult their physician before starting any exercise program.

In the event of bad weather, and if you have access to an open room, TV/DVD player, at your jobsite, DVD's can be a nice alternative. Make sure that the exercise DVD's that you select are recommended by reputable organizations such as American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

For more information:

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Response by:

Carolyn   Nickol, RD, MEd Carolyn Nickol, RD, MEd
Director
Fitness Center at CARE\Crawley
University of Cincinnati