Q: I just took a desk job, and this sitting down all day is driving me nuts. I feel so lazy, but I work long hours and am exhausted by the time I get home. Is there anything I can do during the day (at my desk, even) to keep from being completely sedentary?
A: Is it possible to use your lunch break for physical activity, and eat at your desk when you get back? Take a walk around the neighborhood, or sign up for a quick, 30-minute class at your local gym. If the answer is no, there are other options for working activity in at the office — you just have to be willing to get creative (and sometimes, look a little silly):
- Put on a headset and pace while you talk on the phone.
- Do 10 push-ups every hour off the edge of your desk.
- Do 30-second static squats, in which you hover over the seat of your chair, every 20 minutes.
- Stretch your body out while you are sitting to get the blood flowing.
- Do calf raises while standing in your cubicle. Bring a pair of light dumbbells — or use water bottles — and do biceps curls, triceps extensions, and shoulder raises and presses, all while sitting in your chair.
You can also try popping in one of my workout DVDs before you go to work or as soon as you get home to save yourself the travel time to and from a gym.
I know it can be frustrating, believe me — I had a desk job for three years back in the day, and I HATED sitting still for that long. But for my physical and mental well-being, I made exercise a priority. No matter how tired I was, I knew that I would feel better after. And don't forget all that generic advice: Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk instead of driving whenever possible, and so forth. Any bit of activity you work into your daily routine can only help. Keep your goals in mind, and remember that even if you can only manage a few 30-minute sessions a week, it's better than nothing!