Monday, October 24, 2011

Pressed for Time

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." -- Robert Burns

No matter how much planning we do, it's a law of science that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. Trust me, it's science.

But seriously, all of these idioms exist for a reason. No matter how much planning we do, we cannot account for all events that come our way. As such, my best laid plans to train for this half marathon have already gone of the track.

Staying late for work, traffic on my afternoon commute, calling financial institutions to change my legal name, and the lack of day light have all conspired against me to cause me to miss my training for the first time. Three for four isn't bad, right?

There are so many things that can conspire against us to keep us from attaining our fitness goals. But even if you don't have time to get to the gym or don't make it for your evening run, here's a few ways that you can burn a few extra calories throughout the day:

1. Park as far away from your destination as possible (within reason).
I'm not suggesting that you walk five miles to and from the grocery store, though if you want to, more power to you! Park at the back of the parking lot on your next trip to the grocery store or at the far end of the lot at work. The average person burns about 120 calories per hour of slow walking (2 mph).

2. Speaking of walking... take a walk at lunch, or take the long way to the bathroom on your next trip.
The more you're moving throughout the day, the better. If you have multiple stories in your building, take the stairs to use the bathroom on a different floor. My office has a rectangular hallway that takes you all the way around the building. I sit right outside the bathroom, but sometimes I will get up and take a lap rather than walking the ten feet it takes me to get to the bathroom. Research has shown exercise at work boosts productivity. So the next time you hit a wall at work, take a walk and come back refreshed.

3. Speaking of the bathroom... do some squats.
You have the personal time and the space while you're in a stall, and if you're lucky enough to have a single stall bathroom (holla), you won't have to worry about anyone questioning what you're doing. Do some squats in the bathroom! Do a set of 10 on each trip. I go to the bathroom at least five times a day at work, so that's 50 squats right there. Can anyone say, "tight buns?"

4. Speaking of buns...Sit on an exercise or stability ball at your desk.
I was having neck and back problems due to my standard office furniture. I replaced my desk chair with a stability ball and have been feeling much better. BONUS: I strengthen my abs and core while correcting posture.

5. Tricep Chair Dips.
We can't leave out the arms. Remember those walks around the office I told you to do? Tack on 10 tricep dips when you return to your desk. Use your chair if, and only if, it isn't on wheels. If your chair is on wheels, use your desk. Position yourself with your legs out in front of you. Grab the edge of your desk and drop yourself down. Use your arms to lift yourself back up. Make sure your knees don't go beyond your toes.

Hopefully you'll find some of these tips useful in your workplace, or even around the house. Tricep dips work just as well on a dining room chair or the arm of a couch as they do on the edge of a desk.

Until my company deems it necessary to put in a gym in the un-utilized cubicle area of my office, I'll continue to work towards obtaining a treadmill desk on my own.

What do you do to burn extra calories throughout the day?

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