Turn your workday into a workout

The human body is not made for sitting, yet many of us sit for eight or more hours a day at work. Even if you exercise regularly, sitting for long periods of time is not good for your health. The US Physical Activity Guidelines recommend regular physical activity.

To encourage people to get up and move more during the workday, we created the Workday Workout poster. With graphics and text, it presents five ways to get a workout during the workday.

When it comes to workday workouts, everything counts! A workout can be anything from five minutes of stretching to an hour of step aerobics.

Here are nine teaching tips to go along with the Workday Workout poster:

  1. Set the example. Plan a walking lunch-and-learn or a walking counseling session. If that’s not possible, fit in some short movement breaks. People will notice how good they feel after they get up and move.
  2. Count steps. You can’t change what you don’t monitor. Track your steps during the workday using a pedometer, fitness tracker (like FitBit), or your smartphone. Work on increasing this number by using some of the strategies on our poster.
  3. Log it. Keep a log of when you choose to move at work. This can be as simple as putting a checkmark on paper every time you stand up to talk on the phone, walk to a co-worker’s office instead of sending an email or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  4. Find a buddy. Get a co-worker to join you in moving more throughout the day. Meet to walk during lunch, send each other reminders and encouraging messages, share successes and talk through challenges.
  5. Identify obstacles. What one thing seems to be holding you back? A new headset so you can stand up and move around when talking on the phone? An extra pair of sneakers to keep under your desk?
  6. Set reminders. Use your watch, phone, computer, or an old-fashioned timer to remind you to get up and move once every hour.
  7. Share ideas. Ask your social media friends and followers to share how they get moving during the workday. Someone might see an idea that would work for them, too.
  8. Find a way. If you can’t walk to work, could you walk around the block before leaving for work? If you can’t go to a gym during lunchtime, could you do a YouTube video in an empty conference room or your office?
  9. Have fun. Close your office door, put on your favorite song, and move!

Healthier choices are as easy as 1-2-3

Our Healthier Choices 123 materials provide a simple way to encourage people to make healthy lifestyle changes. The three step concept is perfect for all audiences, from busy, budget-conscious adults to short-attention-span kids.

Set up a health fair or table display with the Healthier Choices 123 poster or banner as the focal point. Then add an activity to go along with each step. Here are some ideas:

Step 1 – Drink water instead of sugary drinks.  

  • Fill an empty 20oz soda bottle with 16 teaspoons of sugar. Compare that to a bottle of water that has zero teaspoons of sugar.
  • Energy drinks, teas, and sports drinks can have as much sugar as soda. Display bottles and cans of these beverages so people can check the grams of sugar per serving.
  • Choose alternatives: water (add fruit or herbs) or unsweetened tea. Have a pitcher of ice water, small cups, and some cut up fruit for people to add.
  • Replacing one can of soda per day with water saves more than 50,000 calories in a year. Think of the money you’ll also save (tap water is free!).

Step 2 – Choose activity instead of screens.

  • How many more calories do you burn by moving instead of sitting? At least twice as many!
  • Replacing 30 minutes of screen time with 30 minutes of brisk walking will help you burn an extra 40,000+ calories per year.
  • Write different 10-minute activities on small pieces of paper or index cards (walk the dog, do laundry, vacuum, shoot baskets, etc). Fold them and put them in a large bowl or jar. Let each person take out three. When they do all three in a day, they’ll have moved for 30 minutes.

Step 3 – Choose fruits and veggies instead of sugary or fried foods.

  • Fruits and vegetables have fewer calories but more nutrients compared to foods like chips, French fries, and cookies.
  • Replacing a bag of chips with an apple will save you 25,550 calories per year.
  • Use food models, pictures, or real food to compare calories in fruit- and vegetable-rich meals vs higher fat choices. For example, you could show two meal choices at McDonald’s: a southwest grilled chicken salad (350 calories) vs a double cheeseburger & medium fries (770 calories).

As a take-home message, set out blank index cards and colorful markers. Ask people to write or draw the healthier choice they plan to make for each step. Tell them to keep the card in their wallet or on their refrigerator – wherever it will remind them of the changes they want to make.

Click here to get 15% off this collection for the first week of April 2019.

New Activity Ideas!

I love coming up with new activities that promote a balanced lifestyle and healthful choices! Today I want to share a few activities that make the most of the brand-new Steps of Health floor decals that just made their debut in the Nutrition Education Store.

These decals feature eight different steps that people can take to improve their health, including…

  • Move more
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Protein
  • Dairy
  • Sleep
  • Limit screen time

Their possible uses are endless, and these brand-new floor decals also come with a handout that details how those eight elements can help improve health. There’s even another handout that highlights some fun activities that are perfect for these materials, and that’s the handout I’d like to share today.

Enjoy!

footprints-web_1024x1024

The Path to Health:

Arrange the feet so that they appear to be a trail across the front of the room, leading from the door into the classroom.

As people enter your classroom, have them walk the trail and note what is on each footprint.

Once everyone has walked the trail and then found a seat, explain that each person can now brainstorm a few ways to implement each element of the path to good health in their own lives.

Have all the participants use a piece of paper and a pen, then divide their page into eight sections, one for each footprint. Let them give each section a title (“Move More,” “Fruit,” “Vegetables,” etc), then allow everyone some time to brainstorm while you re-create the grid of eight footprints on a whiteboard or large piece of paper that you have posted at the front of the room.

Once everyone appears to be done brainstorming on their own, bring the class back together and have people share what they wrote. Write the ideas down on your own board and encourage everyone to add ideas to their own sheets if the new options resonate with them.

Health Fair Decorations:

These decals make excellent decorations for a health fair booth. Consider using these little feet to create a path to your booth from the entrance, or arrange them in an arc around your booth so that people can make a full circuit of what you offer.

These creative materials are sure to help your booth stand out from the crowd at the next wellness fair.

Display the Path to Health:

These stickers don’t have to stay on the floor! Put together a colorful bulletin board and use these feet to join the ideas of good nutrition and regular physical activity.

You can use a grid format à la the “Path to Health” activity, or you can build a path along the center of the board and write out details/illustrate each key point along the sides of each foot.

Here’s a printable handout of these activity ideas. How will you use yours?

stepsofhealthfloordecalsactivityLooking for other fun additions to the Nutrition Education Store? There are lots! Here are a few of my favorites…