It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of our busy lives—we know, because sometimes we’ll go hours without so much as a glance up from our computer screens on an especially crazy workday. One minute we’re in the office kitchen filling up our second third cup of midmorning coffee, and the next, the clock somehow reads 6:30 p.m. (Is it just us, or do the days feel shorter than they used to?) The good news: While we can’t always control our jam-packed schedules, we can find a few minutes here and there to reset our minds and bodies.
To help you do just that, we turned to Francesca Valarezo, one of our favorite fitness gurus and founder of NYC’s Spiritual Rebel Yoga studio. Her best piece of advice? “Make time in your agenda to take a step back and press the pause button,” she tells us, which can include everything from refueling with a healthy snack to sneaking in a quick midday workout. Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes (like New Balance’s Fresh Foam Arishi sneakers, available at DSW) that are stylish enough for the office and practical enough for the gym. Ready to inject a bit of wellness into your busy workday? Follow Valarezo’s lead…
#1: STRETCH IT OUT
You know those days when you find yourself tied to your desk chair, unable to take even 30 minutes to power-walk to pick up lunch? There's still a way to take care of your body, says Valarezo: Even a short, simple stretch break can be as beneficial as a quick cardio session. She suggests these three seated yoga poses to reset both your mind and your posture.
Chair Twist: Sit on a chair with your feet hip-width apart. Turn your torso to one side, placing one hand on the back of your chair and the other on your lap. Hold for five breaths to decompress the spine. Repeat on the other side.
Chair Cat Cow: Start by sitting up tall with your feet on the floor. Arch your spine (cow pose) as you inhale, and round your spine (cat pose) as you exhale. Don’t forget to tuck your chin into your chest to avoid straining your neck.
Opposite Elbow Stretch: To alleviate shoulder tension and engage your core, lift your arms up as you are seated (or standing), and cup your elbows with opposite hands. Stretch side to side gently, pausing for a few breaths as you move in each direction.
#2: CLOCK IN SOME CARDIO
There’s nothing like a quick burst of cardio to wake up your body. Valarezo makes exercise a part of her existing routine by power-walking and running stairs. Her pro tip: Focus on your core and posture to get the most out of your mini workout. And keep a pair of shoes like New Balance’s new Fresh Foam Arishi sneakers in rotation—they’re stylish enough to wear to work, but also lightweight and comfortable enough for getting your heart rate up between meetings.
#3: MAKE A SNACK
You already know that a veggie and protein-packed lunch will keep you energized during the day, but what should you reach for when your stomach starts to grumble in your 4 p.m. meeting? Valarezo swears by adding adaptogens, like ashwagandha and reishi into a smoothie for an afternoon pick-me-up. These Chinese herbs are known to reduce anxiety and increase energy, which makes for the perfect fuel to get you through the last couple hours of the day.
#4: Practice Mindfulness
If you’ve never tried meditating, you’re missing out on Valarezo’s favorite way to feel rejuvenated during the day. “Low-belly breathing is a great technique to calm the mind and get rid of anxiety,” says the fitness pro. And it only takes five minutes of your time. Close your eyes, place your hands on your stomach, and take slow breaths in and out. You’ll feel the physical and mental pressure melt away.
Ready to incorporate exercise into your weekly routine? Shop more New Balance sneakers to get you up and moving in style.