Dubai Fitness Challenge: 10 things you can do at work to keep you active fit and healthy

It's great to know that the simple activities I do at work allows me to stay fit and become healthier.

All of us spend more than half our day in the office - most of our lives actually, so it is just fair to make our body feel good when we're in the workplace.

Dubai Fitness Challenge inspires me everyday to take small practical changes that bring big results. This program, happening on Octobe 26 to November 24, aims to turn Dubai into the most active city in the world. There's a month-long calendar of exciting events. DFC is all about motivating and involving Dubai’s residents to commit to 30 minutes of continuous exercise a day for 30 days.

But if you are "TOO BUSY" and can't allocate 30 minutes for it everyday, check our my list below. These are my recent health and fitness routines that helps me keep that zest, happiness and mental power at work. You can do them too.


1. Stand up and move from your workstation 
If some can have cigarette breaks and caffeine lovers have coffee breaks, why not have an exercise break?

Here's what you can do:

1.1. Staircase walk. Climb up at the fire exit staircase. I do 100 steps up and down every 2 hours, 2nd floor to 6th floor. It only takes 2 minutes to complete one round. It's not just plain walk - I use it to ignite thought processes too.

1.2 Outdoor walk. In cooler months, stroll around the work vicinity few hours after lunch, not only to burn calories, but also to unwind and de-stress with fresh air under the sun.

1.3 10 squats every hour. That's a total of 80 squats a day - do you think it will not do good to your body? If you can't do it in your cubicle, go to the washroom.

If you really can't leave your place, thy these stretching exercises you can do at your desk:

I've heard one fitness guru (forgot the name) saying, if you exercise before going to office but spend more than two hours sitting, your workout is negated. 

2. Do not use lifts
If you're only going 1 - 2 floor levels up, use the stairs. Your body will thank you.

3. Park few blocks away from your building
If you have no parking space in the building, park about a block or 2 away so you'll have to take extra few minutes walk to your office.

The Daniel Plan encourages us to move more than we do yesterday.


3. Drink 2-3 liters of water at work
We don't usually drink too much at home, so make it a habit to consume 2 to 3 liters of water at work. Have a 1L bottle (or other measurable tumbler) so you could count your intake. Yes it will make you pee more often, but you can do it along with your hourly stretching breaks.

Hydration also saves us from headache attacks from work-related stress.

4. Munch on nuts and dried fruits for your snacks
If you can't avoid snacking, replace your chips and cookies with almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts or dried figs, prunes or fresh fruits.  You don't have to deprive yourself of eating. Just replace the junk with the right food.

Nuts are also brain foods. Photo from EAT THIS.

5. Have healthy and light lunches

If you eat breakfast like a king, you can lunch like a prince. Gradually change your diet.

I used to bring "rice cooker" at work. I'm an extra rice guy. I started the change by replacing it with brown rice and with quinoa until I learned and managed not to have rice at all - very non-Filipino you'd say.

Salads don't have to be boring. My wife is good at adding life to salads.  She mixes it with grilled chicken or beef, prawns or fish in it.  It's not costly if prepared at home.

6. Avoid, or at least limit coffee and sodas
Coffee is the staple office hot beverage everywhere. It is believed to keep us alert and battle sleepiness. But it can cause you to crash hard later on. If you have dependency on coffee, time to moderate a bit.

I addressed my cravings for sodas by drinking carbonated water - learn about its benefits.


7. Wash your hands often
Did you know that your computer keyboard have hundreds of times more bacteria than the toilet seat? Your mobile phone too. So it is advisable to wash your hands before and after food. Keep a hand sanitizer at your desk for that in between snacks.

Wash when you reach office - especially if you're taking public transport - the hand rails of the bus and metro is the favorite hangout of virus and bacteria.


8. Work ergonomically
Your posture, your seat and the way you position your devices - especially the height of your monitor towards your eyes - play a significant part in reducing your body strain. It is essential to feel comfortable at work.

9. Manage stress
Work-related stress is unavoidable. But it pays to know yourself and know your limits. Say no if you have to. If you let stress into your body, you'll start getting headaches that will soon grow into sickness. Ans when your sick, your fitness habits stop.

Take a nap to recharge.


10. Have a team or a buddy
Having partners in crime at work who shares the same health and fitness goals with you is truly helpful in keeping on track. Look for somebody who will tap you in case that sugar cravings come along. Somebody who'll walk with you outdoors and who'll agree not to use the elevator. Somebody who'll share a salad with you.

Also, conversations with like-minded people develops your emotional and mental health further. Two are better than one.

It helps to set health and fitness goals to get yourself that extra push to make these 10 a habit.

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