Full-Time Fitness

Cynthia Nixon in the TV show “Sex and the City.”

Until now, this blog has focused on food, recipes, and gadgets that facilitate the preparation of healthy brown-bag menus. Today, I would like to address another topic: How to stay physically fit when you’re working full-time.

It’s not easy. When I was employed as a full-time HR trainer, I typically rose at 5am in order to get to the training site by 7am. I had an hour for lunch, and finished work at 5pm. Because so many of my training assignments were far from home, it sometimes took more than two hours to get back to my condo.

Nevertheless, I found ways to incorporate exercise into my daily schedule. Here are some things that worked for me:

Public transportation. Do you have access to public transportation? Consider using it. On days that I didn’t train, I used Metrolink and subway lines to get to my office in L.A. On the way, I walked through railroad stations and up boarding ramps. Finally, I exited the subway onto Wilshire Blvd and started moving my feet. By the time I got to the office, I had probably walked at least 1/2 mile.

Stair Master, the old-fashioned way. Do you have an upstairs office? Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. It’s a more intense aerobic exercise than walking, and good for you.

Take a stretch break. Keeping fit as an office worker means taking periodic breaks in order to move and stretch, especially if you do a lot of repetitive tasks using office machinery. I learned the hard way that pounding out reports on the computer without an occasional break will send you to Workers Comp with tendinitis, carpal tunnel, or worse.

Program your iPhone to give a reminder every 20 or 30 minutes. When the alarm goes off, spend 5 minutes doing stretching exercises like the ones on this mayoclinic.org link: mayoclinic.org 2006525.

Lunchtime activities. One reason that I advocate bringing your own pre-made lunch to work is that it saves time. Instead of wasting precious minutes ordering and picking up takeout, you can polish off your midday meal and use the rest of the lunch hour doing the following:

  • Go back to that stairwell that you used earlier, and spend 20 more minutes walking up and down the stairs.
  • Get together with some of your coworkers and go walking. Making an exercise date with others will be force you to be accountable to the group. No excuses for not putting on those walking shoes!
  • Do you have a gym at your offices? If so, use it! And If you don’t have time to change into exercise gear, just throw on some tennis shoes and do 20 minutes on the treadmill.
  • Is there a gym near your offices? I have been an L.A. Fitness Gym member for several years. They have locations all over Southern California. If there was one near my training site, I often spent some time on the treadmill during my lunch break.
  • Use exercise CD’s. One of my favorites is the Leslie Sansone Walking in Place series. You can get them on CD at amazon.com. You can also download them onto your IT device from the same site. What’s great about Sansone’s aerobic program is that you need very little space to execute the steps.

After work. Okay, you just got home from work. It was a long day, and all you want to do is eat, have a glass of wine, and watch some TV. Well….why not exercise and watch TV at the same time? That’s what I still do almost every night. Again, Leslie Sansone is great! I play my CD on a mini CD player while watching my favorite TV programs. I’ve exercised at night using this method for more than seven years.

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I hope that I’ve given you some fitness ideas that you can use at work. And if you have additional suggestions, it would be great to see them in my “Comments” section.

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