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How I sneak in exercise at work

Friday, April 27, 2012

I think an issue that almost all of us face is how to find the time to exercise when there are so many other life obligations that have to be met first. We all have families to look after, errands to run, and, of course, we spend a good portion of our day at work.

I don’t have a typical desk job, which can be both a good and a bad thing. I work in lab and by work I mean performing experiments. This means that most of the day I’m on my feet so I’m constantly keeping active. But this also means that I can’t go home until an experiment is completed so sometimes I have some very loooong days. What to do on those days when I’ve got experiments to run all night and leave work very late? I don’t wait until I get home because by then, I’m just exhausted and want to go to bed. So what do I do? I sneak in exercise while I’m at work.

I find that I can usually spare at least 10 min. Yes, if I have a large break, I do go outside and walk along the East River bike/walk path but sometimes that’s not feasible. Sometimes the weather is bad or sometimes, I don’t even have the 20 min it takes for me to walk out there and back. So what do I do? I walk indoors.

Now, I know this may not apply to everyone as I work in a unique environment: a very large medical center with multiple interconnected buildings. If I walked the length of the building I work in, it’s already the equivalent of 2 blocks. But if I walk through all the interconnected buildings, I can walk a much greater distance. (Don’t worry I don’t walk through the patient care areas and disturb the healthcare staff hard at work at helping sick people). Furthermore, I work on the 6th floor so I can do quite a bit of walking if I include the length of multiple floors. In fact, if I grab a cup of coffee late in the afternoon emoticon, I’ll take the long way back by walking back and forth between the buildings as I make my way up from the 1st to the 6th floor. I can cover 0.75 mile in just 15 minutes and all of this walking takes place indoors.

For a larger cardio boost, I’ll use the stairs as my own personal stairmaster machine. We have multiple stairwells in our building and one of them is hardly ever used. 1. I don’t want to disturb anyone and 2. I don’t want to get strange looks from people about my decision to exercise at work. If I walk from the ground floor to the roof, I can walk up 17 flights! I’ll walk up and down several times to get in a really intense cardio workout. When I’m walking back down the stairs, I usually stop every 2 flights to jog in place for about 20 seconds to keep my heart rate elevated.

I know that not everyone can use my tricks to help them stay more active at work but hopefully it can jumpstart you into finding your own way to stay active. I’m curious: if/what do all of you do to keep yourselves more active while at work?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    awesome!!! this is the true meaning of no excuses! :)
    3027 days ago

    I walk around my office if I am on the phone. I do chair exercises at my desk. I do squats or lunges every time I go to the restroom or use the copier or fax or microwave. I always take the 'long way' to anywhere in the building. emoticon
    3028 days ago
    This is a cool post! I used the excuse of long work days for not being able to exercise in big blocks of time - any time someone shows it can be done "shames" me (in a good way) to stop the excuses already and just work it out. I need to get over my obnoxious determination to log, compare, and allow a number to rule whether I had a good workout, instead of just moooooving my butt!
    And I too, am really impressed with 17 floors! I think you are very considerate in your determination to not disturb others with noise, but as for getting funny looks? More and more I just figure my public exercise is either inspiring people (hey, it could happen) or reminding them of their own ugly truth in not exercising.
    For exercise, I do squats and lunges (I have an office) - or pace if I have to participate - during conference calls, and though my job requires me to be on my feet all day, it didn't seem to make me more fit. I try to help lift and carry, and I use my lunch time to walk. I also walk between locations - one day it was 2 miles. A peer of mine had his entire team wear pedometers and he gave prizes to the best "Tiger pacing in his/her cage."
    I always wanted to replace my chair with a stability ball: maybe now is the time to do it! emoticon emoticon
    3028 days ago
    I love your diligence to work out at work. I always get funny looks when I do stairs at school, but whenever I'm approached about it, people always end up chuckling and continuing on. Who knows, though -- maybe we're spreading the spark.

    Keep up the awesome fitness and I am super impressed by your fitness levels. 17 floors is incredible!
    3029 days ago
    I'm impressed with all the you get in - especially the 17 flights of stairs. You are doing such a great job.

    3029 days ago
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