I began writing this as I wait for a client who I surmise is not going to show for the appointment, today, since the appointment was to begin 15 minutes ago. I’m certain when the appointment was made, there was every intention to come in and do the work. The intention to exercise, however, is not enough to make a difference, as many of you have realized. So today, I’ll be talking about action. You moving. You working out. You following your plan. You taking responsibility for your health. Because I’m here, ready to work. Where are you?
It’s easy not to move. Certainly, the couch, the bag of chips, the ice cream—they all call to us. They make us lazy and look for excuses. The sugar makes us sluggish and the inactivity makes us exhausted. This is the hamster wheel we have to drag ourselves from. It’s the cycle of inactivity and idling that stalls our wishes for a healthier body. We go from a desk job mentally exhausted, and mistake that for physical exhaustion. So we “rest” on the couch all evening, and then go lie down in bed for another 7-8 hours, while the body stagnates.
Going from inaction to action.
Examine your day to see how many hours you sit. Be honest. Do have a desk job? How often per hour do you get up and actually stretch your legs? Do you exercise? If so, how many times a week, and for how long? My intention here is to get you thinking about what you are currently doing, and then compare it to what the general recommendations are for both overall health, and for weight loss if that’s what you desire.
The National Institutes of Health recommend the following for adults:
- Some physical activity is better than none. Inactive adults should gradually increase their level of activity. People gain health benefits from as little as 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.
- For major health benefits, do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. Another option is to do a combination of both. A general rule is that 2 minutes of moderate-intensity activity counts the same as 1 minute of vigorous-intensity activity.
- For even more health benefits, do 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of vigorous-intensity activity each week (or a combination of both). The more active you are, the more you will benefit.
- When doing aerobic activity, do it for at least 10 minutes at a time. Spread the activity throughout the week. Muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or vigorous intensity should be included 2 or more days a week. These activities should work all of the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms). Examples include lifting weights, working with resistance bands, and doing situps and pushups, yoga, and heavy gardening.
With that in mind, I propose the following plan to get you up and moving:
Take Action, Try This “Deskercise”!
- Get up once an hour, walk around, shake out the limbs.
- On your first break of 8, do 25 squats (if you are shy, go to the bathroom where no one can see you)
- On your second break, do 25 push ups against the wall
- On your third break, do 25 leg lifts to the side, per leg
- On your fourth break, balance on one leg for 30 seconds, then the other leg for 30 seconds.
- On your fifth break, walk briskly around the floor of your office building (not just your own office, the whole area).
- On your sixth break, do 25 triceps dips off of your desk, your chair if it’s sturdy (without wheels), or a bench or ledge (be safe!)
- On your seventh break, try running in place for 1 minute.
When you then go home, you will already be on your way to feeling more energized. Eat a healthy dinner, and go take a walk, go on a bike ride, try a class at your health club, or go to the community pool to splash around in the pool.
This is how you can easily incorporate movement into even a desk job. Now get up and MOVE!
Written by Melissa Abramovich, ACE CPT, NASM CGT, AAHFRP Medical Exercise Specialist at Elite Sports Club-River Glen
Melissa Abramovich went into Personal Training and Group Exercise instruction after successfully losing 140 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Her desire to help others drove her forward into a career helping others to make healthier choices. She is an ACE certified personal trainer and now also a Medical Exercise Specialist (AAHFRP), helping clients with a myriad of health issues at Elite Sports Clubs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree, and many group exercise related certifications as well.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.