How to Exercise When You’re Chained to Your Computer
Want to exercise, but feeling tied down by your desk job? You’re not alone–only around 20 to 25 percent of people get the recommended amount of weekly exercise, and the number is even lower for those who work in front of a computer all day, such as writers and bloggers.
It’s a sad conundrum; many computer-related jobs are very mentally taxing and make you feel tired even when you’ve burned almost no calories. Fortunately, with a little bit of work, you can make some changes that will improve your health, even if you’re still chained to your computer.
Making the Time for Exercise
One of the most common excuses for not exercising is that people’s schedules are too busy. It’s understandable: between work, family, and social obligations, it can be hard to find the time to take a deep breath, let alone hit the gym. But it’s time to drop that excuse, because in reality, you do have the time to exercise, you just haven’t seized it yet.
If you’re like most people, you probably only get a few hours of truly “free time” each day–that’s why the suggestions we’ve listed here are simple and can be performed in the normal course of your workday, most likely without your coworkers (if you have any) even noticing (and if they do notice, they’ll probably just be jealous that you’ve got the energy to multi-task and work on self-improvement in the normal course of your day).
Exercise for Busy Professionals: First Steps
Spending too much time in front of any kind of screen isn’t exactly great for your body. If you work on a computer, you should be taking a quick break every hour or so to prevent eye strain.
You can maximize these breaks if you wear ankle weights and walk about. If you work from home, you could even consider throwing in some household chores (for example, dusting, doing the dishes, or vacuuming in your break).
If you tend to snack throughout the day, you should switch to a healthy, low-calorie option such as carrot sticks, or a filling, protein-rich snack like almonds.
More Intense Exercise Options
Maybe you don’t get many breaks; this means you may need to think outside of the box for your computer exercise options. An ingeniously clever recent invention is the under-desk stationary bicycle, which allows you to keep your legs moving even while you’re not (not to mention, it’s a great alternative to tapping your toes or bouncing your legs up and down).
If you get a long enough lunch break, consider replacing your meal with a quick and easy-to-drink nutritional shake or smoothie, then going for a quick jog or bike ride with your extra time. As an added bonus, the endorphin rush from exercise will improve your mood and your performance for the rest of the work day.
A Word About Posture
Heavier technology use has been linked to a steady decline in posture. Over time, posture-related problems can lead to serious health problems affecting your spine, hips, and many other areas throughout your body.
If you sit in front of a computer most of the day, or you’re always looking down at your smartphone (hey, we’re guilty of it too…), you should stretch or do yoga regularly to correct the issues that extended periods of sitting can do to your back, neck, and legs.
Even if it only means doing a quick back-stretch when you take your break, it can be the difference between proper and problematic posture.
Nobody is made of time; when you work an office job, or you work long hours from a computer at home, exercising has to be integrated into your routine. It might not come naturally at first, but after a while, you won’t even bat an eye at an hour-long under the desk cycling session!
Hopefully these tips get you moving towards a healthier you. By implementing a few simple changes to your daily routine, you’ll start to see results before you know it. Working in front of a computer doesn’t have to mean sitting still.
Busy freelancers: Do you have any exercise tips for a busy schedule? What techniques are you implementing to remain healthy while you work?