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White-collar workout

health-and-fitness Updated: Jun 26, 2012 13:50 IST
Shweta Mehta
Shweta Mehta
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Working a desk job for long hours is probably a person’s biggest excuse for being too lazy or tired to hit the gym. How about making the workplace the gym then?

Stepathlon, a concept based on the internationally successful Global Corporate Challenge, has just been launched in India. The initiative urges corporates to get fitter, and have fun while they’re at it. The 100-day event involves attachment of pedometers to each participant, who is encouraged to walk as many steps as she or he can within the office, to boost not just the ranking of the team, but in the process, their fitness too.

Says Ravi Krishnan, co-founder and CEO, Stepathlon Lifestyle Pvt Ltd, “Health psychologists say it takes an average of 66 days to form a habit. Physical and mental fitness is critical to productivity and quality of life. In the experience of Shane Bilsborough, a fitness expert and my company’s co-founder, 80 per cent of the global participants have continued with the activity after the event, and 90 per cent return the next year, seeking to improve on their previous efforts.”

Companies like Tata Sky, Apeejay Group, UB, Sony, Raheja Universal and Jindal Steel and Power have already confirmed their participation in the event, which will run from September 10 to December 20.

“Being sedentary contributes to 35 chronic diseases, both physical and mental,” warns Krishnan. “What many people do not realise is how little they need to do to be significantly fitter, healthier and happier. Just 30 minutes of walking can make a marked difference. Global health authorities recommend 10,000 steps a day, which is very achievable.”

How Stepathlon works
* A company can enter any number of five-member teams.
* Each participant, aka Stepathlete, wears a pedometer that tracks her / his daily number of steps on the course website.
* Steps are converted into kilometres and the team’s position is mapped on an interactive online platform.
* Teams compete for 100 days for the titles of Fittest Team and Fittest Company, under categories such as company, industry and city.
* Winning Stepathletes will receive certificates and prize opportunities, and participate in contests throughout the event.

Easy office workouts
Althea Shah, vice president, marketing and fitness expert, Gold’s Gym, shares these simple changes you can make at work to be healthier and fitter.

*Use Under-the-desk Exercise Machines
These small machines fit under your desk and can allow you to burn extra calories through a pedalling or stepping motion.

*Replace Your Chair with a Balance Ball
Forcing your body to balance strengthens your core muscles and helps burn more calories.

*Create a Desk Workout
The typical desk workout can take about five minutes. Popular components of desk workouts include wall push-ups, jumping jacks, chair squats, torso twists and water bottle arm curls.

*Start a Weight Loss

*Support Group
These groups can take the form of true support groups or they can follow the growing trend of biggest loser-type competitions among co-workers.

- As told to Shweta Gandhi