Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Work Hacks: Exercise During Breaks

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So in my attempts to exercise more, which I don’t really like to do, I’m exercising at work during breaks. This takes care of the distractions issue (no baby, no hubby, no chores, no projects). And I find that when I get up and move away from my desk during the day I feel better – less muscle tension, less eye strain, less headaches. That helps with the motivation part.

Now that summer is coming, I’ll have ample opportunity to get out for walks which is great for my longer lunch break. But what about those 15 minute breaks when I want to do only a few minutes, or days when it’s rainy, or when I just want a more intense workout?

I had a major light bulb/ah-ha moment: YouTube + Zumba. Genius.

I searched YouTube and found that there are several instructors who have either recorded their classes or have made little instructional videos. I saved the ones I liked to a playlist and viola! Instant personalized exercise “video.” And since it’s saved virtually I can access it from any computer. Like the one at my desk! How handy!

I chose Zumba, but if you love kickboxing (don’t break anything), yoga, Pilates, step aerobics, or whatever, give a look around and see what you can find that you can modify to work for you. If you can’t find what you want on YouTube, and you know the moves already and just need the music and/or verbal instructions, see if you can download an audio workout. Bas Rutten is my husband’s favorite – though for home, not work.

I have very little shame, or rather I don’t embarrass easily, so I have absolutely no problem exercising at my desk where people could walk by my door and see me. If you do, you may want to close the door or hang a curtain across your cubicle opening. (speaking of no shame at work – remind me to tell you about the time I was a student worker and sent across campus with a box of empty Tupperware to pack up the extra food from some other department’s luncheon lecture)

Some tips:
  • Wear headphones with a long cord
  • Move your chair and other obstacles out of the way before hitting play
  • Do the moves in place rather than moving around
  • Change first if you want/need to (don’t do this in heels!)
  • Let your neighbors know what you’re up to, and stay confident when they look at you like you have two heads (maybe that’s just my paranoia)
  • You may want to get a little fan or a towel to keep the sweat in check, and reapply deodorant

This can be done at home too, of course, and I plan on doing that as well at some point. But working out on my breaks is a great first step in getting back into exercising.

And, Liz, if you’re reading this, sorry for the thudding coming through your ceiling.

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