Friday, October 22, 2010

Ask Bomberger: Cubicle Blues

I work a desk job and am finding it difficult to find motivation to exercise. What tips can you give me to find motivation to work out after a long day behind the desk? And what can I do every day for a short period of time that would help me stay fit but not take up too much time?

Unfortunately in America today many people suffer from what I'll call the "Cubicle Blues". Sedentary jobs create a very dangerous cycle of sitting, more sitting, drained energy levels, sitting and you guessed it: more sitting. Being cooped up in an office all day is the human body's worst nightmare and it is important you find some motivation within yourself to get physical activity before work, during lunch or after your work day. If you are someone who is lucky enough to be working a sedentary job and not struggling weight gain, which very lucky few are, then the reality of sluggish energy levels and the prospect of poor metabolism, heart disease and increased risk of cancer can and should all be motivation to show your body some love!

You've touched on two of the most common excuses people use to justify not getting in the gym and I am going to show you that these excuses are not reasons at all and can be beat! First, let's address finding motivation or mustering up the energy to do a workout. Sure it does take some energy, but the truth is getting your heart rate up, the blood pumping and the muscles burning will help increase the body's feel good neurotransmitters and boost endorphins, giving your body a sort of physical activity "high". Exercise has been shown time and time again to increase mood and relieve stress, something we can all use after work!

The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity daily to fight off heart disease and cardiovascular related illness. That's basically just a 30 minute walk a day for basic heart health. The cool part about exercise is the harder you work in a session, the less time it takes to reap some of the same health benefits. Try these simple fifteen to twenty minute protocols which will require some blood, sweat and tears (ok maybe just sweat!) three to four times a week to keep your body fighting the cubicle blues:

Density Training

Density training is when you perform an exercise circuit as many times as you can with as little rest as possible in a set amount of time. Take rest as needed, but remember the goal is to get as many rounds in as possible! Set a timer for five, ten, fifteen or twenty minutes, try these simple density circuits and let me know how your body feels:

- 10 jumping jacks, 10 body weight squats, 10 push ups
- 10 burpees, 10 alternating lunges (10 each side!), 10 seated Russian twists (hands extended away or holding a medicine ball or light dumbbell)
- 10 squat jumps, 10 dive bomber push ups, 10 mountain climbers

30:30 Intervals

30:30 intervals are simple: 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest, repeat. This timed protocol can be utilized with jogging, running, sprinting, body weight training and even resistance training. Alternate between 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest, sounds easy enough right? The catch is your 30 seconds of work need to be HARD. Give it a good hard effort, then relish the 30 seconds of rest. This will result in a greater caloric output, boost your metabolism and help you burn more fat. Start with short interval sessions if you're a beginner, shooting for only 5 to 8 minutes at first. As you improve your fitness, you should build to 20 minutes of uninterrupted 30:30 action!

Examples:

- Find a track and alternate between running for 30 seconds and walking for 30 seconds.
- Utilize a course 15-20 yards in length and alternate between 30:30 sets of sprints, shuffles and or cariocas for your set amount of time.
- Put together a body weight circuit where you alternate between a few different exercises for the timed interval such as: body weight lunges, push ups, pull ups and bicycle crunches. Each work to rest period will be one minute, therefore if you do 5 sets of these 4 exercises, you've got 20 minutes of work!

I hope some of these tips can help get you on the right track and fix your cubicle blues!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These are great and totally do-able exercises. What about some tips on things you can do right at your desk? Is there anything you can do at your desk? even something as simple as posture?? Any advise?

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