Several years ago I wrote an article that discussed the most common places to put on weight. One of those was the workplace.
We’ve all been there, seen it, and perhaps even fell victim. Any of this sound familiar….
“Sarah from accounting is having a birthday, want cake?”
“The sales rep brought donuts, want one?”
“I’ve been so busy I didn’t leave the desk all morning, I’ll just grab a bag of chips from the machine.”
Sarah from accounting is a made up person for these purposes, but the scenario is all too real! The fact is, most jobs don’t promote a lot of activity. Office jobs are where excess calories and sedentary habits combine for an all-out war on your heath and waist.
A 2013, a survey done by Careerbuilder found that 41% of people claim to have gained weight in relation to their jobs. This is a staggering number considering the survey was comprised of 3600 participants. To save you the time on math, that’s 1476 individuals. Furthermore 56% of the weight gainers in the survey attribute it to long hours seated at a desk. I’ve worked desk jobs in the past, you may like it, but to me it was prison. Still not sold? A 2008 study found that even short bouts of exercise increased energy levels by 20% and decreased fatigue by a staggering 65%.
A recent trend in the past decade was to encourage fitness in the workplace. Everything from weight loss challenges, to incentives on health benefits have all found their way into the corporate world. Maybe your workplace offers these, maybe not. Rest assured though the answer is here.
I present to you…The At Work-Out. (get it?, yeah its silly but I like it) The following workout is broken into two groups. THE OFFICE ORDEAL (office workout), for those of you who live the cubical life, and THE LAST STAND, for those in the retail and service industries (cashiers, hairstylists, cooks).
THE OFFICE ORDEAL – Office Workout
Change the chair. This one may not work if you sit in a mile long row of cubicles but if you work in a small or private office consider trading out your chair for an exercise ball. Merely sitting on the ball requires you to utilize more abdominal and back muscles to maintain balance. This forces you to maintain a low center of gravity and utilize muscle strength rather than chair structure to support your body weight. Furthermore, you can up the effectiveness by banging out 20 crunches every hour. That’s 160 crunches in an 8-hour day. 800 per week.
Break the break habit. Most every U.S. state mandates two 15 minute breaks per four hours worked and a 30 minute lunch per eight hours. Going to the break room and checking your social media may be your idea of a break but it’s time to rethink that. Get up and get out of the office. Walk the perimeter of the building as many times as you can in the allotted time. Try to add in more laps each week. If your office has multiple floors then get to the stairs. Start by walking then make it a challenge by jogging up one flight and back down (avoid the jog in heels ladies). By the way, do you even know where the stairs are in your office? As an added bonus use the furthest restroom from your workspace to force you to walk more. Drink more water, hence more restroom breaks, for more steps.. just saying.
The blind eye. Ever been stuck on a mind-numbing conference call? Its 2016, put the phone on speaker and do 10 air squats, with your hands on the edge of the desk, do 10 reps of pushups. Get to the floor and do 10 more reps of crunches. If you have a stationary chair add in 10 reps of chair dips. They can’t see you.
- Aqua curls. Get two 1 liter water bottles and you have instant dumbbells for bicep curls, overhead triceps extensions, hammer curls, etc. One liter of water is one kilo or 2.2 pounds.
- Anywhere/anytime. Get up out of the chair. Stand beside your desk and ever hour do 10 standing calf raises. Do this daily and after the first week add 2 more reps every day. While seated do bodyweight leg extensions right in your chair.
*Never sit still at your workplace for more then 30 minutes at a time.
THE LAST STAND
- You’re not sitting. Seriously, you’re already ahead of the game. Standing burns on average 50 more calories than sitting per hour.
- You’re already standing, so why not incorporate some standing calf raises. Do 10 reps every half hour of your shift.
- When business slows go ahead and bang out air squats. Do 10 reps every half hour. Bonus: superset these with calf raises.
- We established standing is good, but don’t stand still. In slow times, walk around your store and face merchandise, do inventory counts, and do general cleaning.
- Use your work tools to your advantage. I was employed at a major supplement retailer around the time that The Perfect Pushup hit the market. We had a display model and during slow times I’d get a lot of good use out of these. Ironically these were one of the few valuable “Seen on TV”fitness products. I used to challenge customers to pushup contests (of course when my boss wasn’t around).
These workouts are in no way meant to be structured. They are dynamic by nature so they can be accommodated at any time in and scenario. It should be noted these are tactics to make sedentary jobs more physically active. It is still recommended you partake in a structured workout program (resistance and cardio) at least thirty minutes, three to four times a week.