Fit Healthy Habits Into Busy Work Schedule, Part 1: Exercise

Lawyers wear the number of hours they work like a badge of honor; it comes with the job. The research, writing, and client meetings – not to mention the studying, phone calls, and court appearances – create an endless amount of work. It’s no surprise that managing such a large workload fosters stress, obesity, and a number of other health issues. Lawyers who have a hard time operating under this type of pressure are susceptible to experiencing trouble at home. Luckily, law firms are doing something about it.

An article by ABA Journal describes how firm Morgan Lewis established a wellness program, “ML Well”, for its staff. According to the article, “Morgan Lewis was among the first law firms to sign an ABA pledge asking legal employers to take steps to promote lawyer and staff well-being.” Leader of ML Well Krista Logelin explains the purpose of the program is to provide the professionals at Morgan Lewis with the techniques they need to live a healthier lifestyle, including meditating and expressing gratitude. The article also cites insights from Morgan Lewis’ Chief Engagement Officer, Amanda Smith. Smith reports there are “significant behavioral health issues” in the industry, and is determined in her role to work wellness into the firm’s culture and “make sure … workplace experiences are consistent with [it].”

At this point, you may be wondering what types of things you can do every day to improve your health. In your fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget that every decision we make impacts our health. Meeting a client for lunch is more complicated when you’re trying to find healthy options on the menu. Taking time to walk throughout the day is practically impossible. A good place to start is by making one smart choice at a time, then building positive momentum from there.

There are several reasons lawyers (and all people with busy schedules, for that matter) have to work extra hard to be healthy. Nutrition and exercise both play a part, not to mention sleep, hydration, and mental well-being. As far exercise goes, the fact is it’s not built into your workday. You have to make time for it in your schedule.

It’s not easy to work out when you’re reluctant to get out of bed in the morning, especially if it means waking up earlier than usual. On the other side of the coin, it’s hard to work out when you’re tired from a long day at the office. Here are some things to remember as you plan your workouts:

  • You’re responsible for your health. Use this fact to empower yourself – you get all the credit!
  • Setting SMART workout goals for each month can help you understand your motivation for working out. Short-term fitness challenges keep workouts fresh and relevant, making them more rewarding in the end.
     

Desk jobs encourage people to sit for long periods of time, causing a lack of physical activity that isn’t natural for the human body. Human Resources professionals usually recommend getting up and moving around every 30 to 40 minutes. Here are some ways to make it happen:

  • Ask your firm’s HR department for a standing desk and go through the process to get one. With benefits that include reduced back pain and increased productivity, it’s worth it.
  • Top-off your water cup every 30 or 40 minutes. (This tip offers works double duty by helping you stay hydrated.)
  • Walk at lunch and during meetings (if you don’t need a screen for them). Not only does the fresh air clear your head, but it’s a great way to rack up steps in a short amount of time. If you find yourself wanting to socialize at the same time, round up some colleagues to go with you.
  • Look for reasons to walk more. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, and don’t find the closest parking spot to your building.
     

These are just a few ways you can incorporate physical exertion into your workday. Check out parts two and three of our Fit Healthy Habits series: Nutrition and Wellness