Anyone who finds themselves plastered to a rolling desk chair eight hours a day will certainly appreciate this small gem from Shirley Archer: a book of quick, easy fitness exercises for the cubicle dweller.
I came across a copy of Fitness 9 to 5: Easy Exercises For the Working Week at a HomeGoods, of all random places, and quickly perused the whole thing. Easily skimmed in a half hour or so, I absorbed many of the tips without any trouble and have put them to practical use at work! Archer includes tips on strengthening specific areas of the body, highlights the calorie count you’ll be burning by completing each exercise and easily guides you through the motions with very specific instructions — and awesome illustrations, done by Chuck Gonzales.
The book is laid out chronologically as you hurry through your day — starting with slight exercises you can do before even getting out of bed and guiding you all the way through your commute home. It’s also full of tips on varying the movements as you get used to them, or changing them up a little if they’re too strenuous. I love the way Archer’s book has made me look at fitness in a new way — and helped me realize that I don’t have to be jogging in place or doing crunches in order to see some results. And since I’m actively exercising nightly, these moves are an excellent way to supplement my workouts.
My personal favorites include exercises for the wrists, designed to increase range of motion and relax sore muscles. Everyone who has spent the day typing at a rapid-fire pace can appreciate that one! I also love Archer’s suggestions for ways to squeeze the exercises in — like a squatting move that can be completed in the 30 seconds it takes to wait for your computer to boot up in the morning! Since I hate waiting for a computer to turn on probably more than anything in the world, I’ve started putting that time to good use. Even if my coworkers might think I’m a little strange!
Most of them don’t, though. (Or they already know me well enough to know that if I’m being silly, it’s business as usual.) And considering each of the 69 exercises boasts how many calories you’ve burned after completing each for one day, one week and one year — and shows you how many pounds that would equate to, should you keep it up daily — I have plenty of motivation to look a little whacky around the office.
I highly recommend Archer’s book, if for no other reason than it gets you thinking about how the simple movements in a day can really add up — and get you thinking about staying fit all the time. Instead eagerly hoping a front-row parking space is available at work or out shopping, I have no qualms with parking farther away. All those extra steps can really add up — and I’m excited to see just how much subtracting (from my waistline!) I can do! (Bad pun, I know. You forgive me, right?)
Just to whet your appetite (or decrease it?), here’s one of my personal favorites from Archer’s collection. Try it while you’re perusing the next post!
“i’m not quite ready to work!” chair squats
from Fitness 9 to 5 by Shirley Archer (pg. 34)
Before you take a seat and begin your day, practice lowering and lifting your tushie to tone your buttocks, hips and thighs. Getting up and sitting down is one of the most important activities of daily life. The leading predictor of whether you will need assisted living in your old age is your leg strength. Do squats regularly not only for a tone backside, but also to maintain your physical independence as you age.
• Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart, about one inch in front of your chair. Hold in your abdominals and relax your shoulders.
• Inhale as you sit back, as if you are going to sit in your chair. Let your bottom lightly touch the chair without sitting down.
• Exhale as you push yourself back up to standing, while squeezing your buttocks.
• Work for up to one minute.
One minute of squats burns 10 calories.
One minute of sitting while doing nothing else burns 1.1 calories.
10 calories x 5 days per week = 50 calories
50 calories x 50 weeks per year = 2,500 calories
2,500 calories / 3,500 calories per pound = .71 pound
5 out of 5!