Continuing my guinea pigging of workouts you can supposedly do in your cube or office, today I went through a small routine by Tracey Anderson, found in Bloomberg BusinessWeek‘s September 22 “How To” issue. If you don’t have a copy, you can view most of the same article here. Keep in mind that the purpose of these routines is not to get you in the kind of shape that Ms. Anderson is in, but rather for your good general health – as recent studies have discovered that even a small amount of sedentary time is very bad for your body, regardless of how fit you already are. And obviously that is definitely not good news for us desk jockeys.
This workout has little going for it compared to the Washington Post workout I reviewed last week. With just four moves, it’s decidedly faster than a full set of WP moves. Which is a good thing, because presumably you have to get actual work things done in the office, too, right? But the moves don’t include the number of reps to start out with. I found I was more likely to injure myself or bump into something with these moves – the first one in particular means balancing yourself on your rolly chair with both legs off the ground. The second exercise means you better wipe down your germ-laden workspace before planting your snoz on it. The third one is confusing – what is a “flick kick”? (“I don’t know, is it a kind of movie?” said my sister when I texted her with this question.) I did find the last move pretty satisfying; it’s a good stretch, and anything that gets us moving more during the day is a good start. With this one, that’s about all I can ask for.
One of the latest fads, although I hope this one has more staying power than others, is the office workout. In the past few months I have seen articles in magazines and newspapers on this very topic along with new products designed to facilitate such workouts, such as “standing desks”. I have even heard of meetings conducted while everyone is on a treadmill. (That is pushing it too far. The only thing that could possibly make a boring meeting even MORE torturous is bringing a treadmill into the equation.)
A few months ago, The Washington Post presented 12 office exercises tested by their infographics department. The result is this clever presentation on their website, complete with awesome (and somewhat funny) drawings of office workers demonstrating how to do each exercise. You can read pros and cons of each move and rate whether or not you would actually do this exercise in your own office. There is also a small link you can select to download and print a useful cubicle poster of the exercises.
Me being me, I had to guinea pig these things, just for you! And now I do them most days of the week. I’m kind of cheating as far as the embarrassment factor goes because my cube has a privacy door on it and not a ton of people work on my floor anyway. But ultimately I found this routine pretty easy to do, although I would recommend changing out of your work shoes into sneakers first. It involves a lot of marching and stepping, so if you’re in a quieter atmosphere, your cube mates will probably hear your repeated steps and wonder what you are doing. And if you work in a cube with a low-wall, people will see your arms swinging around on some of the moves. (Consider grabbing an empty conference room if you’re in a busy area and just can’t stand people looking at you during the day.) Regardless, this is a quick workout that will keep you energized and is a good way to take a brief break. It’s even kind of fun. Just be very careful when doing the ones that require you to lean on your desk – sometimes cubicle tables are too flimsy.
Bonus points if you attempt to make the same faces shown on the people in the WaPo article as you do each exercise. 😉