Many of us, myself included, live a non-active life. Most of the time it’s due to lack of planning, chronic illness/pain, proper knowledge, and technique. I don’t know what’s stopping you from getting regular exercise, but for me, it’s the chronic pain in my shoulder, arms, and back. They get worse and feel like they are on fire after I do exercise or stretch my arms above my shoulders. So I refrain from doing anything heavy or strenuous.
I know I need to make small changes in my life, especially in the activities, so that I can get some exercise in my physical condition. To get an idea of how to start doing at least 3 minutes of exercise a day as a beginner or as I like to call it “Beginner’s guide for starting exercise”, I interviewed Lawrence Smith who is the Vice President of Smart Break USA. As a brand, Smart Break’s motto is simple:
“We spend the majority of our day sitting, but Smart Break is here to change that. All you need is 3 minutes to complete our 3 targeted movements to get the result.”
BEGINNER’S GUIDE FOR STARTING EXERCISE:
SC: The one “excuse” I have heard about exercise is that there is no extra time to exercise. So what is your advice to someone who wants to start exercise but has time constraints?
LS: Time constraints are normal and not everyone has the time to go visit the gym before, after or even during the day. When looking into wellness and wellbeing programs you need to consider the amount of time you are going to put in. If you do not have a lot of time during the day you should be choosing a program that fits your schedule. But ultimately it’s a culture problem in your workplace. There are programs out there that only take a few minutes and are available and easy to do without visiting the gym or needing to shower.
SC: What should they start with? Especially if someone doesn’t have any gym access.
LS: Getting started might be the hardest part. Finding something you are willing to do over a long period of time is hard. Start simple and progress. If you start an uphill battle right off the bat you probably will not stick with that program. Look for something that will benefit you while also is enjoyable.
SC: Personally, I always skip doing exercise because it increases the chronic pain on my shoulder and back. What would you advice someone with chronic pain?
LS: If you are getting chronic pain from exercise you are probably doing the wrong exercise. Maybe doing a rehabilitative exercise would be needed instead of an active high-intensity workout. By doing the right exercise and having good posture, you will decrease your risk of having chronic neck and lower back pain.
SC: Which exercise they can do (with chronic pain) and what steps should they take before and after exercises?
LS: Of course, when someone has chronic pain there are rehabilitation moves that can be provided. The moves of our Smart Break program are catered to rehab and preventative measures. They are more like stretching and increasing blood flow movements. Chronic pain should be dealt with with these specific moves.
SC: What’s the best time to do the exercise and how long it should be if someone is a beginner?
LS: This idea of the 3-minute exercise started around the Finnish working day and their coffee breaks. A Finnish coffee break is around 9 am and 2 pm. To break up the periods before and after lunch. We use this 3-minute exercise to help break up that sitting time and increase energy. If done correctly you would add 6 minutes of exercise daily to your routine. It’s amazing how short and simple an exercise like this is.
Suggested read: How To Keep Exercising Despite Chronic Pain
SC: Lastly, what is the most important tip you can give to the readers of Sifa’s Corner?
LS: I think one of the most important things we here at Smart Break try and touch base on is a culture change. The ability to get up and move in front of your peers is hard to do. Having the courage to do something that could benefit you, in the long run, is something that is needed. Courage to encourage others is also hard but is much needed in the office culture. Changing the culture and moving during the day is the future of the workforce. Management needs to understand this and if you want a wellness product to work it must come from the top-down. Leadership should take control and show it by action.
Here is a list of some exercise equipment to make your life easier:
About Smart Break:
Lawrence Smith is the Vice President of Smart Break USA. SmartBreak is a solution that helps workers become more energized, productive, while also treating the problems that come with sitting at a desk all day.
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