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Healthiest Employer Challenge: The Daily Plank

When I came into the office this morning, one of my co-workers said, “I saw an article on LinkedIn last night about having a Daily Plank Meeting and the picture showed everyone in a circle doing a plank.  I was going to share it with you, but I was afraid you might make us do it.”  Silly goose.  Like I wasn’t going to go look for it.  Well, I found it and a software company does indeed do planking meetings.  You want to talk, you have to plank while you talk.  If you are quiet, you get to rest on the floor.  Each person takes turns updating on what they are working on and where they might be blocked.  For employees who are predominantly sitting at their computers all day, this is a great way to strengthen their core muscles which can ultimately relieve back pain.  Plus, I bet it keeps their meetings brief!

We are in Week 3 of the Healthiest Employer Challenge – I swear I’ve gained 6 pounds instead of losing them – that’s a whole other blog.  We’ve had our blood pressure checked, our weight logged, and our steps counted.  We have been focusing on getting in our steps this week and there may even be a little gift card on the line for the employee with the most steps this week.  I am also noticing our staff going out for a walk at lunchtime, and they are texting me in the evenings to tell me how they are getting their steps.  There’s even a little smack talk going on.  It’s all getting everyone up and moving and that was the whole point.

Getting the steps is great, and adding some strength training to the mix really helps burn calories.  So this week I started phasing in stations throughout the office.  It’s nothing fancy, just note cards with an exercise handwritten on it.  I strategically placed them throughout the office, so if you go to the printer, do 25 calf raises while you are waiting for your document to print.  Walking past the steps, you need to go up and down them 4 times.  Going to the fridge?  Give me 50 quick steps – every time you go to the fridge.

Now, my co-workers are saying, “As soon as I finish this project, I’m going to go do a circuit.”  They may laugh at each other or roll their eyes when they are lunging to the bathroom, but I think they are secretly enjoying this.  And even if they say, “I hate you!” while they are doing a one minute wall squat, I know they really mean they love me!  Here’s a list of what’s on our circuit. I suggest they work up to what’s on the card or do what they can, and modify as necessary.  Let me just say calf raises are delightful in heels.

  • Wall squat
  • Calf raises (toes pointed forward, toes pointed out and toes pointed in)
  • Triceps dips on the steps
  • Bicep curls
  • Plank (I brought in a yoga mat)
  • Core push ups
  • Crunches on the exercise ball
  • Up and down the steps 4 times
  • Lunge to the bathroom, kitchen, or basement
  • 10 minutes on the exercise ball every hour
  • Quick steps

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