It’s the antithesis of fitness – a desk job that has you spending the majority of your adult life in a padded chair while leaning over a computer keyboard and staring into a dimly lit monitor. Our hunting-gathering ancestors would be shocked.
I honestly can’t think of many less healthy way to spend your adult years, but millions of us do it because we have to.
It’s not the desk job that will kill you. It’s becoming too comfortable in that space – so much so that exercise is but a distant memory of the days when you were a strapping, young lad and the world was your oyster.
In truth, it’s just far too easy to get comfortable in our roles as we grow older. Exercise becomes a bit more difficult as we tend to get hurt a little easier and our energy levels aren’t what they once were.
The mental aspects of exercise are no less appealing. For many, it takes a stronger conviction to make it to the gym when it’s less about bodily aesthetics and more about good health. For those who are equally as concerned with looking the best they can, the results are often less that they were able to achieve in their twenties. Testosterone isn’t quite what it used to as you grow older.
The entire process can be disheartening but it shouldn’t be.
Part of this process is simply learning to grow older gracefully – but that doesn’t mean that you should accept anything less than the best version of yourself. You can achieve some pretty remarkable fitness results at any age, besting any preconceived limitations and achieving extraordinary results with nothing more than a strong desire and conviction.
The other part is realizing the innumerous benefits of exercise. It’s about far more than just looking good. The really important reasons are happening inside our bodies, at a physiological level. With every exercise performed, the body is restored to a younger state and overall health is improved. A consistent approach to exercise is proven to add years to a person’s life – and not just any years, but high-quality, “live life to the fullest” years.
So if you’re a desk jockey who has settled into the habit of your 9 to 5 comforts, consider breaking out of the mold and improving your overall health with some daily exercise. You don’t even need to hit the gym to improve your health.
An interesting culture has emerged where I work – hall walking.
It started off with a 65-year old male who made a trip to the emergency room because he had been experiencing chest pains. He was told that he was at risk for a heart attack and for the first time in over twenty years, he decided to embark on a new fitness journey.
Every day, for well over the last year, this gentleman spends his breaks and lunch periods speed walking the halls at work. After doing this for only three months, his doctor informed him that he had shown improvement in almost every area of his health – and he could feel the difference it was making. His cholesterol was down, his weight dropped, his arthritis pain lessened, his thyroid level showed improvement and he no was longer short of breath when simply climbing a set of stairs. Just last weekend, he hiked a local nature trail with his grand-kids and proudly confessed walking a distance of over three miles.
On seeing the changes of this man, several people started walking with him. We now have a group of about 5 to 15 people (depending on the day) that participate in speed walking every day. This man has greatly improved his health, changed his life and is responsible for improving the health of many others around him.
On the really pretty days, this group will walk the neighborhood and enjoy the sunshine. Fitness can be fun.
But let’s say you don’t have adequate walking space where you work. What else can you do? Surprisingly, a lot.
One of my personal favorites is to find an unused conference room and knock out a few sets of push-ups during a break. I do this a couple times a week – on the days I don’t go to the gym. You could throw in sit-ups or planks, as well. I love the solace of doing a few sets in an empty room at work. It all contributes to better health and a better body and it beats the hell out of hitting the vending machine for another candy bar. I’m far more invested in powering my mitochondria than adding fat to my mid-section.
If you’re looking for exercises to do at your desk, you can actually get quite creative and add to your overall progress. Forbes has a great article on 10 exercises you can do behind your keyboard. Desk push-ups are a favorite of mine if I just have a couple free minutes and want to rid myself of feeling tired.
The funny thing about being fitness-minded is that you start finding other opportunities to engage in fitness activities once you start looking for them. All those moments add up. Shoot for about 30 minutes a day of physical activity. When you get home from work, take a walk around the neighborhood. Spend a little extra time picking up the yard or just mowing the grass. Look for any new opportunity to simply move your body and resist the temptation of immediately hitting the couch when you walk in the door.
Buy a pedometer if you don’t have one and start looking at how many steps you take every day. It’s an easy way to see how active you’ve been and what you’re averaging in regards to just getting out and walking around.
If you’re looking to build a better body, check out some of my other fitness articles and be sure to read my ten-part series on metabolism. Understanding goes a long way towards improving your health and fitness.
Don’t spend too much time reading though. Exercise is calling right now!