December 8, 2016

Winter Wellness

Winter Wellness

It’s finally cold season, and I don’t just mean the arctic weather that is overtaking the country from Chicago to Texas. I mean the sneezing and coughing kind of cold that gives you license to move your chair to the other end of the conference table to put as much space as possible between yourself and the person who came to work with great intentions but who ends up sharing their germs with everyone within breathing distance.

Staying healthy in winter can be a challenge, and that includes staying fit. As regular readers of this column know, I’m something of a fitness nut. Sometimes I feel like Fitbits were invented just for me. In fact, we’re just about wrapping up our latest Fitbit challenge at Marcum, which required participating teams to achieve an average of 10,000 steps per person per day in October; 11,000 steps in November; and 12,000 in December (by Christmas Day). The challenge, of course, is greater now that the weather in many of our markets has driven us all indoors.

Staying fit at this time of year can be especially difficult, given all the holiday feasting (and toasting) we tend to do. Our HR Department even runs brown-baggers that we call Lunch ‘N Learns, to give our people tips about healthful holiday eating, in order to avoid the “fast five” that somehow manages to sneak on and make your waistband just a little tighter. Here are some steps we can all take (no pun intended) to instill and maintain good winter wellness habits:

  • Try a standing desk. We’ve installed a number of these in Marcum offices, and they are a great hit with our team. If you’ve never seen one, picture a small platform that sits on your desk and can be elevated to raise your computer and keyboard to the appropriate height so you can work while standing. It’s the perfect antidote to sitting for hours on end, which is seriously bad for your back, and promotes better blood circulation.
  • Start a short regimen of bodyweight exercises. Remember when they made you do pull ups in gym class? Bodyweight exercises require no free weights or machines, and build strength using your own bodyweight as resistance. If you don’t belong to a gym, you can check the President’s Challenge website for a few simple bodyweight exercises you can do at home.
  • Go ice skating. You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to skate. It’s a lot of fun and is also something you can do with your kids or whoever won’t laugh at your triple axel. Most cities and suburbs offer both indoor and outdoor rinks, and you can treat yourself to a high calorie hot cocoa afterwards – you will have earned it.
  • Take the stairs. Unless you work on a high floor in an office building, using the stairs instead of the elevator is a great way to get in some exercise – and to log Fitbit steps! I’ve even seen teams of people at Marcum climbing the stairs together, as an alternative to lunchtime power walking.
  • Try something new. Find an activity that you haven’t tried before, whether it’s hot yoga, spin class, or tennis. A lot of schools offer adult sports leagues after hours and on weekends – that’s another great option.

If none of these appeals, find something else that works for you. Just make it a point not to sit out the winter and wait for spring. Stay active, stay home if you’re sick, and make winter wellness a priority. Your mother/HR Department/primary care physician will thank you. Heck, I’ll thank you.