Nearly all of us need to make more time for fitness. Finding that time, though, can seem impossible.
But what if you could wedge that workout in at work? If it sounds far-fetched (or a great way to get yourself fired), listen up.
Dr. James Levine, an obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic, says Americans dont need to log more time at a gym. Instead, they need to banish their sedentary ways by incorporating easy bursts of activity from dawn to dusk.
He calls it NEAT fitness, which stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. In laymans terms, it means cranking up the bodys calorie-burning abilities by weaving in near-constant movement such as standing, walking, even pacing at every opportunity. Becoming a body in motion that stays in motion could help you burn 500 or more extra calories a day.
And Levine said he believes the best place to start is in the workplace.
If youre rolling your eyes, you might be guilty of what Levine calls 1930s thinking, to see employees (and the workplace) as merely tools of productivity. But the really cool companies Google, Yahoo, Apple take the health and the happiness of their employees seriously, Levine said.
Its not just for altruistic reasons, of course. Its easier to keep health costs in line when employees are healthier, and a healthier workforce is a more productive workforce, he said. A healthy workplace is the way of the future.
Such a future might resemble the San Clemente, Calif., headquarters of Stance, an upscale sock company that tailors its line to Southern Californias snow, skate and surf culture.
Chief Executive Jeff Kearl says the 4-year-old company has spent more than $100,000 on employee perks such as a basketball court, a skateboard half-pipe, game tables and showers. A chef prepares healthful breakfasts and lunches. A gym, personal trainers and classes are coming shortly.
It may be hard for people to believe, but we have zero abuse, said Kearl, whose office runs by a freedom and accountability philosophy that loosely translates as: Just get your work done, OK?