Another day, another dollar. In this economy, it’s easy to make work a fulltime priority at the expense of seemingly dispensable endeavors like a fitness routine. But not only does all work and no play make Jack a dull boy, it also puts him at risk for headaches, back aches, listlessness, and lowered productivity. (Not to mention this could pack a few pounds on him.) If you have the kind of workplace flexibility that affords you lingering lunch breaks at the gym—great. Pack a salad, grab your towel, and take advantage of it.
If not, don’t despair—there are other options. As dubious as it might sound, real, effective cardio is feasible from your cubicle. According to Kelli Calabrese, spokesperson for the American Council of Exercise, “Ten minute—or even 60 second!—bursts of activity count. Cardio is cardio, so long as you get in your target heart rate zone.” Office-friendly aerobics shouldn’t replace longer, more concentrated exercise, but they are better than nothing, so long as you have a few minutes to spare.
Jumping jacks: A minute’s worth, without stopping, should get your heart racing. Try to fit in three repetitions if you can, and be sure to tread as lightly as you can if you don’t work on the ground floor. A modified, more subdued version is to lift your right arm while tapping your left toe to the side while keeping your right foot planted on the floor; and then switching sides.
Running in place: Channel your inner football player and get those knees up in this simple, effective drill. Even marching in place works—if you choose to march, be sure to double your time. One minute of running should equal two of marching.
Body Lift: Who needs fancy gym equipment? Your desk chair is the perfect spot to work your muscles. Place your hands firmly on the chair’s arms and lift your body, while staying straight-postured. Repeat.
Take the Stairs: This one seems like common sense, but avoiding elevators and opting for the stairs will benefit you. If you’ve got a little time to kill, run up and down the staircase a few times for good measure. Just make sure you’re not too out of breath when you finally reach your destination.
Quick, efficient exercise breaks make a world of difference in the often-sedentary lifestyle of weekday warriors. Not only do they keep you fit and limber, they make a long work day a little more fun. Next time you’re knee deep in paper work and deadlines, take a breather and get moving—your body will thank you.