If anyone knows how to make lycra work for a 2pm meeting, it's Team ELLE. On any given day, at least 3 of us will come to work, gym/yoga/run-ready in fit kit.
Incorporating exercise into your working day is actually really easy. Some simple planning, a decent up-do and a willing colleague is all your need to make the most of your lunch break.
The easiest way to start? Walking. And guess what? It's National Walking Month (how convenient!) in May so there's no excuse no to give it a try.
So what will walking do for you?
Make it burn – Walking can burn some serious calories. In one mile you can burn off 100 calories. You can roughly calculate how many calories you've burned walking a mile at slow walking speed by multiplying your weight in pounds by 0.49 or for brisk walking multiply it by 0.57. Some smartphone apps such as Map My Walk will calculate this for you, too. Handy.
De-stress and decompress – If that tense morning meeting with your boss is sending your stress levels high, talking a brisk walk with help bring on the zen. A study by Living Streets found that 48% of women feel calmer after a walk and 1 in 4 feel walking helps take away work tension.
Get creative- According to American Psychological Association something as simple as walking (especially outside) is able to boost the mind's creativity dramatically. Try it before a meeting.
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Nick Lees, London-based Exercise Scientist breaks down how to make it count:
Mix it up
Mix up your walking rhythm and speed to amplify your walk. Try combining steady walking with bursts of increased intensity, bringing the technique of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to your walk. For an extra push, look out for park benches or concrete ledges and try these body weight exercises: step ups, push-ups, planks, dips and squats to elevate your heart rate and stimulate some muscle growth.
Find time for incline - Adding an incline burns significantly more calories than walking on a flat terrain. Try taking the stairs instead of the escalator or climbing a hill. This added incline will turn up the body's work rate increasing calories burnt, whilst toning your calves, thighs and bum.
Take the scenic route - Try walking outside on a mixture of different terrains. It will not only make your walk more interesting but your body will burn more calories. If you are lucky enough to live near a beach, try to take your daily walk to the sand (the softer the sand the better) which will work your legs, hips and cardiovascular system much harder. Grass, trails, gravel or rocky paths also help to up the intensity and can provide an adventure on the school run. Being outside and absorbing some much needed Vitamin D will help your body to have stronger bones and joints, a boosted immune system, a healthier gut and increased brain function. Win.