How to Be Healthier at Work Using the 5/15 Rule

When people talk about how they’re living a good life, what they really mean is that they’ve found a way to juggle all of their responsibilities without feeling overrun. Living well means eating healthy foods, getting enough exercise, doing well at work and having a happy home life. When you work full-time, accomplishing all this every day can seem impossible, but it’s actually not.

There’s an easy way to check off your physical activity and your work tasks at the same time — by using the 5/15 rule. If you haven’t heard of it already, it’s basically a guide to make sure you’re still active during the day even if you work at a desk. For every hour you work, take at least five minutes to walk — even if it’s just to the break room for some water. On your lunch break, walk for at least fifteen minutes.

How Can You Get Started With the 5/15 Rule?

This might sound easier said than done, but there are ways you can incorporate this rule into your workday. It’ll require you to think ahead a bit, but it’ll be worth it when you start noticing that you’re feeling better and accomplishing more at work.

Take a look at these manageable ways to get your version of the 5/15 rule established:

1. Create a Walking Course

If you don’t know where you’re going to go while you walk, you’ll probably be less motivated to get up and go. To avoid this problem, think about where you work and what a good walking course could be.

If you work in a large space, this might mean walking a lap around the office. If you work somewhere that’s a bit smaller, consider walking up and down the hall outside your office a few times or even making a loop around the block.

2. Do Some Easy Exercises

Maybe you’d like to get up and be more active during work but can’t spend five minutes walking away from your desk every hour. That’s okay! The goal of the 5/15 rule is to get your body moving, not necessarily just walking.

If you want to try something other than walking, check out some ideas for easy ways to get active at your desk. You can even alter what you find to fit your work schedule, like doing squats in the bathroom stall instead of in your cubicle if you don’t want your officemates to see. If you put your mind to it, you’ll be able to get exercise in no matter what your daily work schedule looks like.

3. Make It a Group Activity

One of the most challenging things about exercising, whether you do it during work or at a gym, is getting yourself to actually do it. That’s where a partner could help you. It’s been proven that exercising with a friend will help keep you on track. You’ll feel more obligated to get up and move if you have someone waiting on you, rather than finding excuses to put it off until later.

Have a coworker or two join you on your hourly walks. Maybe even book a conference room if one is open and do some quick exercises together before heading back to your desks. Friends can be especially good to have by your side for those longer lunch walks, too. They’ll keep you motivated to meet those activity deadlines.

4. Don’t Let Yourself Slip Up

The biggest challenge for anyone trying to get active is staying active. Even if you have a partner or two to help you enjoy your routines, it’s easy to lose the motivation that made you start. Work can get busier and more stressful, or you can feel like you accomplished your goal by being active for a couple days.

Something you can do to help avoid falling into this trap is to make a motivation board. This could mean anything from having a motivational picture of your goal as your desktop background to cutting and pasting quotes and pictures to a board that you can hang in your cubicle or on a wall near your desk. Always remember why you got started with the 5/15 rule, and you’ll find that it’s easier to stick with.

Make a Simple Change Without a Big Effort

It’s a common struggle for people to forget just how important it is to be physically active every day. You work at a desk all day long, and then when you get off, you’re tired. All you want to do is sit down, have a nice dinner and then get in bed. While that may be your favorite way to relax, it could be hurting your body in the long run.

Instead, stay active during the workday by figuring out how the 5/15 rule can fit into your schedule. You’ll quickly begin to feel better because you’re more active. Your mind will be more alert, so you can better focus on the work tasks at hand, and you won’t have any guilt when you end up going home in the evening to a nice, warm bed.

Don’t waste any more time feeling guilty about how much of your life is spent sitting around. Get up and take a walk! Eat your lunch on the go or get a coworker to join you for a quick walk around the block. Just because you’re not used to doing it, doesn’t mean changing your daily routine is impossible.

How do you plan on getting active and staying motivated to keep your new routine going? Comment with your ideas below and share to get your friends hooked on the 5/15 rule with you. While you’re here, subscribe for more content that will help you easily improve your life and meet your personal goals.


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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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