For the past 5 months I've been an intern on a sustainable farm. My job allowed me to be extremely active and get tons of fresh air and sunlight. Now my internship is over, and I will be entering the conventional world filled with computer screens, rolling chairs, and overall sedentary living.
So, I'm curious...how have you managed to stay active in corporate America? It's only been a week since I stopped farming, and I can already feel my muscles withering away from lack of use. I wish farming were the right career choice for me since it afforded me such a healthy lifestyle without having to schedule in exercise, but in reality it's not (not intellectually stimulating enough for me).
I am open to all suggestions.
I walk and walk up stairs whenever I can. I also try and take a walk during my lunch breaks, which is good to clear the head and sort out the eyes from staring at a computer screen all day.
Also sometimes I have an hour conference call with the USA on my own in the boardroom and almost always do a bunch of push-ups, sit-ups and chair-dips during the call. So far I have never been caught breathless when a question is directed at me, and as long as we keep it VOIP only and not video I should be fine. The other day I asked security if there were any CCTV cameras in the building and lifts. Fortunately there aren't as I tend to squeeze in 5 air-squats or dips (on the corner rails) in the lift going up and down 5 floors. Doing a dip against gravity is quite effective actually.
One winner for me is when I am working into the night alone, every 2 or so hours I take out my pink CAT5 network cable jump-rope I made, and do a few rounds of skipping, drop down for a few push-ups and carry on with my work.
This all seems to work for me.
I only email coworkers who are in the office if I need a record that the conversation took place and I never use the phone or chat system. That means that if I have a question, I have to get off my rear and go ask them. Not feasible in a lot of corporate environments, but good in my smallish company.
I get up and take small breaks every hour or so. Refill my water, make tea, use the restroom, whatever. I try to take a few extra steps whenever possible (i.e. take the long way around to my destination). I could probably take some dumbbells or kettle bells in to get small bursts of exercise in those periods if I wanted to.
I'm working on hacking together a standing desk so that I'm not sitting all day. I'm trying to come up with something I can adjust fairly easily, though I think I'm just going to have to take a leap and come up with something not adjustable. I'll get used to it eventually.
The place I work is pretty casual, though. I could probably wear my pajamas into work and nobody would give me a second look....
Also, if you're the one in charge of the farm, it's much more intellectually stimulating :) (says the farmer's granddaughter).
I commute on the train/bus which involves about 30 minutes of brisk walking per day. This helps as a minimum, I would like to get more exercise than that, but it is good to be forced to do that much every day. I also make it a point to go outside at least once a day and walk, like take the long way walking to get lunch or something.
If it is not too cold, I do my kettlebell routine on the porch at home, which also gets me some fresh air and nature.
All of that said, this is a fraction of the exercise and fresh air that I would like to get, but that is life these days. One day I will find a well-paying job where I can be outside most of the day...
2 hours commuting a day by train - I seldom sit down, sometimes doing one legged balancing or standing on tip toes (all while enjoying media on my tablet) My school is on a hill, gotta walk up the hill and down again from the train station - avoid the bus. As a teacher in class, I always walk around the room, never sit, do some deep squats behind the seated class sometimes while they are working. When a student needs help, I always squat (with good form) down beside their desk. I use the squat toilets in the bathroom (benefit of living in Japan). As you can see I do a lot of squatting on a daily basis! Always bound up stairs, never dawdle up. While walking down an empty corridor with no one looking I have been known to lunge walk. I hand crush steel beverage cans (usually other peoples!) before discarding them.
Exercise is everywhere, all the time, if you just think about it more.
edit: also carry a "handytrim" ultra compact exercise tool in my bag. Seems like gimmick but they actually do work, relaly get the blood flowing in your arms and shoulders. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-LYNWFdLKE&feature=related
I am lucky enough to have a corporate job in NYC so I get to go out and walk for an hour during lunch and try to walk home as much as possible. Like Banded Girl said, I try to get up to have conversations with people instead of sending instant messages but I can definitely get sunk in my chair. I try to do a lot of stretching too, especially hamstrings so it doesn't feel like my butt is atrophying in my chair!! I grew up on a farm and landscaped during summer breaks at college - I loved that physical lifestyle, and definitely miss it. Glad you got to experience it.
Mark Sisson has TONS on this topic: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/
I'm not in corporate America yet, but going to conventional school I experience the same environment. To offset sitting, when I'm at home or when I have a break, I stand. I stack books on top of eachother to bring my laptop to standing-appropriate height so I can stand anywhere - you could stand all day if you cheaply build or makeshift a standing desk.
If I want to go get something, I walk - I don't beg my carred friends to drag me around. Take your lunch hour for physical activity; you get bonus points if you convince your co-workers to play a pickup game of futbol with you.
If you can commute to work in anything but your car, do so! I walk over four miles a day in commute, and while it sounds like a long time (one hour and thirty minutes on average), it doesn't feel very long. My walk awakens me for the day ahead and mellows me out on the way home. I would give up my resistance training before walking. Biking is a wonderful form of transport also, though I tend to use too much glucose as a fuel while biking and so prefer walking.
I wish I had your former job....