Monday, January 26, 2015

CLIP: Working it while working it!

Happy Monday everyone! 
In today’s Challenge Yourself, we’re going to cover the dreaded exercise.  I say dreaded because I am not, nor will I ever be, a person who like exercise for the sake of exercise.  Now I can spend hours dancing, because I love music and can’t help but dance to it, but anything resembling working out for the sake of “fitness” makes me break out in hives*.

The truth is, with my schedule, exercise is hard to fit in.  When I worked in a building with a gym or one a block away that I walked past daily, it was easier to concede and go in to work out.  But right now, I don’t work anywhere near a facility I can use easily.  By the time I get home, I don’t have the inclination to work out (and frankly, the time) because I only get a little time with my husband as it curerntly stands.
However, all this eating better is only going to show true progress if I’m also working on toning and keeping my body burning fat.  So that means getting up and doing something, right?  Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or an office worker, we all have full schedules.  Unless you have the funds and time for a personal trainer, it’s hard to stay committed to a physical routine.  Right?  Wrong.

Sadly, so wrong… I’ll be the first to admit losing my excuses for not working out stings a little, but getting my butt back in shape will be worth admitting I was wrong.  Especially since the solutions I’ve discovered won’t actually affect much except adjusting my existing routine by 5 minutes or so.  As an example, the attached image is a routine that could be incorporated into your daily life if you have a place to do it and 20 minutes to spare.  Some people would rock it out in the morning or evening every day.
First, let’s look at the ideal schedule for an office worker trying to incorporate exercise into their day.  1.  You don’t have to leave your desk.  2.  You can set a reminder on your Outlook calendar or cell phone.  3.  5 minutes (while you’re on the phone, reading a report, or simply listening to music) is all it takes – once per hour. 

You work for 8 hours at a minimum, so that’s a 40 minute per day workout.  Did I just blow your mind or what?  It will also be a mix of aerobic and strength training.  Oh, and as you get more fit, you can adjust your five minutes to include more high intensity elements and maintain that fat burning.  So no excuses.  Also, 5 minutes won’t work up too much of a real sweat – so no need to change clothes, though you may need to catch your breath before the next meeting.  If you get really ambitious, instead of once per hour, try every 30 minutes.  That will make your workout total around 75 minutes, which is pretty great daily by anyone's standards. 
Goal Office Workout Schedule
  • 9 am: Arrive to work.
  • 9:30 am: Get up and move around for five minutes.
  • 10 am: Five minutes of stretches. Start your day with a shoulder stretch, upper arm stretch, and chest stretch.
  • 10:30 am: Five minutes of wrist exercises. Do the prayer stretch, wrist flexor, and wrist extensor.
  • 11 am: Five minutes of strength training. Pick a few exercises from this list or this list you're comfortable doing in the office. Water bottle weight lifts, leg raises, and calf raises are all excellent ways to get a little strength training in the office without drawing too much attention to yourself.
  • 11:30 am: Get up and move around for five minutes.
  • 12 pm: Five minutes of stretches. This time do back stretches. Do a Lower back stretch, back and bicep stretch, and reach for the sky.
  • 12:30 pm: Wrist strength training. Do squeezes, wrist rolls, and wrist curls.
  • 1 pm: Five minutes of strength training. Pick a few exercises from this list or this list you're comfortable doing in the office.
  • 1:30 pm: Get up and move around for five minutes.
  • 2 pm: Five minutes of stretches. Time for some leg stretches. Do five minutes of hamstring stretches, standing thigh stretches, and leg extensions.
  • 2:30 pm: Get up and move around for five minutes.
  • 3 pm: Five minutes of strength training. Pick a few exercises from this list or this list you're comfortable doing in the office.
  • 3:30 pm: Get up and move around for five minutes.
  • 4 pm: Five minutes of stretches. Do a chin tuck, head turn, and side neck stretch.
  • 4:30 pm: Get up and move around for five minutes.
  • 5 pm: Leave work
Now this schedule, as you can see, doesn’t include when you eat or have snacks, but you could program those into your schedule as well.  When you can see your day and week laid out, including exercise, it makes it hard to say you don’t have time for it.  5 minutes chatting with a coworker while doing secret leg lifts or power walking from desk to desk passing out reports isn’t hard to add in.  Plus – more face to face contact strengthens relationships, right?!
Here are some links for exercises you can add into your desk or office routine:

Do you not work in an office?  You can sign up for a service like to send an alert to your cell phone, tablet or home computer to remind you to get up and move for five minutes.  There are other apps that can do this for you as well or work out bands (like the UP by Jawbone) that will buzz at regular intervals to get you moving.
Now, let’s not forget people with non-traditional jobs.  Teachers, stay-at-home parents, and nail technicians for examples all have jobs that can keep them from a normal workout routine.  Some of these office and desk exercises can be incorporated into their day, but in addition there are a ton of other options they can do away from the corporate or professional environment. 

So these following links are easily adapted from being just for parents at home with kids.  One of the things to remember is most, if not all, of these can be done while holding a baby (or with a toddler nearby) for five minutes.  If you replace “baby” with books, bricks, tools, bottles of acetone, or whatever is heavy at your job, you can do many of these.  Chair squats?  Put the baby in a sling and they will love the up and down ride!  Balance books on your lap and get a core work out as well.  Be creative in your application!  Run (or walk quickly if carrying precious cargo) up and down the stairs for 5 minutes while carrying something.

So there you go.  No more excuses, we have tools we can use to add into the lives we’re already living.  No cost, no extra time tools.  Now, to start using them!
Even if you don’t manage to do it every hour the first day, try – and keep trying until you’re popping up before the alarm and getting your five minutes in or adding an extra five minutes in here and there. 

Challenge yourself!  Anyone have some other great tips to share?  Put them in the comments, great ideas are always welcome.

*This is an exaggeration.  I don't break out in hives. I usually break a body part or get ill.  See, same thing.

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