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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Stay Fit At Work? 635

Dishwasha writes "What do you do to stay fit? Probably like many of you, this code monkey has lead a fairly sedentary life consisting most on fritos, tab, and mountain dew. Every time I attempt to incorporate exercise in even the most modest amount it never really seems to work out. 'Just do it' or joining and going to a gym just doesn't seem to work and with time being my most precious resource at this point, I would like to incorporate exercise in to my daily work process. Our office recently switched to standing desks, which is great, and I would like to possibly bring in a flat treadmill that fits under the standing desk, but my bosses have balked unless the equipment is whisper silent. We are a small business in a traditional office park with no exercise facility. Do any other geeks out there have a similar set up and would like to share what they use to stay heart healthy and improve circulation during their work day? What other ways do you incorporate exercise in to your geeky or nerdy lifestyle?"
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Stay Fit At Work?

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  • Lazy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Russ1642 ( 1087959 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:24PM (#43173099)
    What the poster meant was that he's just too lazy to go to the gym when he could be at home watching TV. Any significant workout is going to make you sweat a lot, which is why you don't do it at your desk. If you just want a physical job then sign up to be a mail carrier or bicycle courier.
  • I get up .. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Idimmu Xul ( 204345 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:25PM (#43173107) Homepage Journal

    3 hours before I need to be at work and go to the gym, and try my damned hardest not to eat the free biscuits or cakes when I get in to the office.

  • No Magic Bullets (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tompatman ( 936656 ) <> on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:27PM (#43173149)
    There's no magical way that's going to keep you in shape without a little effort to eat well and take some time to exercise. Lay off the fritos and mountain dew. Stick to water and coffee/tea and get some veggies in your meals. Make time to exercise over lunch or right after work, for at least 30 min. You're just making excuses if you think you can't carve 30 min. out of your day. I go to the gym at lunch and find it makes me more relaxed and more productive at work.
  • by crankyspice ( 63953 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:28PM (#43173163)

    I knew I'd never reliably hit a gym, etc. (BTDT, repeatedly), and working out *at* work wasn't really feasible, so I worked out by going to / from work by bicycle. At first it was 5 miles each way, then I changed jobs and it was a 35 mile round trip, daily. Lost ~100 lbs in about 8 months. Have kept ~80 of those off since 2008...

  • Take the stairs. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:28PM (#43173167)

    Even when I'm not going anywhere.

  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:32PM (#43173253)
    I go to the gym during lunch and swim. 15min away, exercise for 1/2hr and back at work within the hour. The nice thing is, it splits the day in half.
  • by dmatos ( 232892 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:36PM (#43173359)

    Unless you've got a truly ridiculous commute, you can probably bike to work without taking much more time than driving. I've got a 7km commute that takes 15 mintues in rush-hour traffic. I can ride it in 20 (17 minutes is my personal best).

    It takes an additional 15 minutes at work to shower and change, but that's 15 minutes that I'm not spending showering at home. All told, I get 40 minutes of exercise in a day with a net time loss of only 10 minutes. AND! I use the hot water at work (free!), where they don't have those horrible low-flow showerheads.

  • Re:Lazy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Murdoch5 ( 1563847 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:42PM (#43173481)
    I completely agree. Everyone one tells me they don't have the time to go and they have to much work but somehow yet manage to fit 5 hours of TV into the evening. To stay fit, burn fat and keep energized you really only need to work out twice a week, I usually aim for 3 - 4 times. Either go to a gym or stop complaining, you have the time, just go and do it.
  • Re:Lazy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:43PM (#43173493)

    You can burn fat and get some decent exercise in 10-20 minutes, but "get strong" is such a nebulously stated goal that you're doing him a disservice implying it'll only take 10-20 minutes. If you're being honest with yourself it's more like 1 hour, three times a week. Ten minutes is probably just enough time to get through a warmup set. And yes, you will sweat. What a ridiculous contention. If you're an out of shape worker in a sedentary job, getting in an out of your chair probably makes you break a sweat.

  • Re:Lazy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) * on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:50PM (#43173619)

    What the poster meant was that he's just too lazy to go to the gym when he could be at home watching TV.

    It is not a matter of laziness. A gym membership is expensive, and going there is time consuming. The closest gym to me costs $80/month and is a 20 minute commute each way. I work till 6pm, then after an hour of meal prep, eating, and cleanup, I have about two hours with my kids before they go to bed. I am not going to cut that in half so I can go to the gym.

    I stay in shape with a stand-up workstation, and we have a treadmill in front of a internet connected TV in the break room. I usually put about three miles on the treadmill while I watch the PBS Newshour. A treadmill at my desk does not work, because I cannot walk and type at the same time. I have seen salespeople do it successfully, but they spend their time talking into a phone headset rather than typing. I don't see that working for a coder.

  • by zuvembi ( 30889 ) <I_charge_100USD_ ...> on Thursday March 14, 2013 @02:00PM (#43173813) Homepage

    Yup - I have a similar story. Was at 277 - dropped down to 177. Now I'm a little above 200 - but I've been reasonably stable for years.

    Before you can say "I can't do it!", keep in mind you probably can if you wan't to. Here are some common objections I

    • Do it every day - start at one day a week - maybe go up to three - or even five if you can manage it
    • I'll be sweaty and stinky! I personally have a shower at work - but even without, if you are clean in the morning and change from biking clothes to work clothes while dabbing on some deoderant, a little clean sweat is not very fragrant.
    • It's too far! So don't do it all the way. I know plenty of people who will drive part of the way, then hop on their bike and do the rest. That way you can tailor the ride to your time, fitness, etc. I even know some people who drive to work one way - bike back, then bike to work the next morning - then drive home.

    If you don't want to do it, just say so - there's no sin in that. But don't come up with bogus reasons why it's a terrible thing you can't do and noone else should.

  • by Zumbs ( 1241138 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @02:02PM (#43173869) Homepage
    Then drive the first 50 miles and ride a bike for the last 10. Hopefully it is possible to find a parking lot somewhere in a reasonable distance where you can also stash a bike. Another alternative would be to consider moving closer to work or changing job to something closer to home.
  • Re:Lazy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dexter Herbivore ( 1322345 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @02:07PM (#43173935) Journal
    Not to mention that gyms are mostly pointless rip offs. You DO NOT need to go into a special environment to exercise. For some people it helps, sure, but it's not absolutely necessary. You don't need a special machine to exercise your legs, jog on the spot, put a crate down and do step aerobics, do squats. Specialised equipment isn't a necessity and usually is there simply to make you feel like you've got your money's worth.
  • by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @02:08PM (#43173957) Homepage Journal

    Walk/Run/Bike to or from work - only works if you have access to a shower facility or public transit for one-way commutes at work

    Cycling doesn't need to be that strenuous (if the commute isn't long), and is good exercise even if you don't sweat all that much. Considering that the cost of transport is included in the cost of exercise, and how efficient cycling is for both, it's really ridiculous how few people actually commute by bike.

    Yeah, I know most of you'll say: it's cold and it rains, the traffic is dangerous, and it's just not practical for me. Some of you will be right, and many of you will be wrong.

  • by Riddler Sensei ( 979333 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @02:20PM (#43174155)

    ...a fairly sedentary life consisting most on fritos, tab, and mountain dew.

    Most people in this thread are likely to focus on the highlighted part. And they are certainly good in doing so. Spending 45-60 minutes, 3 times a week, picking up heavy things off of the ground is one of the greatest things I have ever done for my strength and physique. It has been great for building muscle and cardiovascular health. However, when you say "fit" I assume you meant fat loss, first and foremost. And when it comes to fat loss that is done in the kitchen.

    Well, here's my angle. Exercise is for strength, endurance and health. That is, when you lift you should be lifting to increase your strength and what you should be counting is the weight lifted and the reps repped. When you cardio, what you should be counting is miles ran/sprinted/biked. However, what many do is count the calories burned instead. And you do burn calories. You burn calories during the activity itself, you usually get a metabolic "afterburner" effect and you burn calories when your body rebounds (this also has the effect of partitioning a portion your dietary protein and fat towards tissue and hormone construction instead of just flat energy). And that's great. But you just CANNOT out train a shitty diet. Saying to yourself that you can eat/drink X today because you did Y is such a dead end, terrible, philosophy that gets many in trouble. The freedom to eat something because "you earned it" just leads to heartbreak for many. If you're going to exercise, exercise for the sake of your body's strength and health, but don't think that it will suddenly make that sugary coffee and bagel a non-factor in your obesity/diabetes.

    That said, I honestly believe that the "fritos, tab, and mountain dew" part is the real core of the issue here. Refined sugars and grains coupled with modern fats (seed oils, trans-fats) are the bane of many peoples' lives. Insulin resistance, leptin resistance, celiac disease, IBS, SIBO, etc.. Simply switching to whole foods can almost entirely bypass this issue. Learn to cook your own meats, find tasty vegetable recipes, use fruits and nuts as calorie/nutrient dense desserts. When you do this the trans-fats disappear, the refined sugars and HFCS disappear, the 600+ grams of carbs a day disappear. You will learn the role that protein, fats and carbohydrates play in your body and how blindly trying to cut one of them to zero is a poor decision (seriously, when did we decide that we DIDN'T need dietary fat for healthy tissue and hormone production?). Your hunger will likely diminish as well as these foods tend to be VERY satiating.

    It's funny when people ask how to get in shape that they will jump up and be ready to run in place for hours on end per week, but if you tell them that they will HAVE to cook their own meals, well, suddenly they're deers in headlights. People seem more willing to spend hours on end spinning away in their spin classes than spending a few minutes in the kitchen.

    In summary:
    Exercise = Strength, endurance, health
    Diet = Fat loss, disease control, health

    Do them together, but don't think you're going to get strong just through eating or that you're going to lose fat just through running.

  • by Fallingcow ( 213461 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @02:51PM (#43174589) Homepage

    1) Place kids on shoulders.
    2) Do squats

  • Re:Lazy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) * on Thursday March 14, 2013 @02:57PM (#43174663)

    So workout at home. It's cheaper and has no commute time.

    But it still requires extra time. If I use a stand-up desk, I burn an extra 200 calories/day (enough for an extra dessert), with NO extra time commitment. There are other benefits as well: Although there is a chair in my office, when people come into my office to chat about something, they want to look me in the eye, so they stand up too. This keeps conversations short and to-the-point, and I get more work done.

  • Re:Lazy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @03:19PM (#43174917)

    Calories are completely irrelevant.

    Don't believe me? Quit eating carbs and you can eat as many fat and protein calories as you like. The pounds will drop off very quickly.

    I switched to a 125g of carb per day diet and lost 70 pounds in 9 months. I did no additional exercise. My cholesterol, blood pressure and other readings improved dramatically (I no longer take high blood pressure medication). I have a ton of energy now compared to before.

    I eat bacon and eggs (in butter) for breakfast 4 days a week and eat buttered vegetables and all kinds of other things, not worrying about a single thing but carbs.

    Back to the summary, switch the Mountain Dew to unsweetened iced tea and the Fritos to beef jerky...

  • by dmatos ( 232892 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @04:29PM (#43175649)

    "Truly ridiculous" is anything you can't bike without reaching your personal "I'm gonna die now" limit. For me, I'd set that at about an hour of riding, which would let me acheive the average commute distance on a good day (26km/16mi). But it's a personal choice. Obviously, as the distance increases, the extra time required to bike it instead of driving it increases as well.

    I totally understand the stones it takes to join the cars on the road. My route has no bike lanes at all, and is along the biggest, busiest roads in a city of 350,000 people. But I've been riding my bike around town for 15 years now, so I'm pretty inured to the horrific driving that goes on around me. On the other hand, you are correct, I'm not from the US (rather, from that cold neighbour to the North), so at the very least, I don't have to worry about being shot to death when some jackass behind me gets pissed off that I've slowed him down.

    If you are going to try this, there are three things I highly recommend:

    One - get a rear-view mirror. It's invaluable when you want to change lanes, and for keeping an eye on the cars behind you that might cut you off at that right turn ahead.

    Two - practice vehicular cycling, and take the lane (ride in the middle) when it's necessary to do so for your safety. Vehicular cycling means that your actions are predictable to the cars around you.

    Three - if you're really having problems, either mount a camera on your helmet, or mount something that looks like a camera on your helmet. I was astounded by how much more room I was given when people thought they were being recorded.

    As far as temperatures, I'm one of the lucky few that experiences days as hot as 100F (39C) in the summer, and -30F (-33C) in the winter. I get both extremes! I am fortunate enough to have a shower provided at my workplace, and I recognize that.

  • Re:Lazy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cusco ( 717999 ) <> on Thursday March 14, 2013 @04:35PM (#43175725)
    A routine that will only take a week or so to get into, and which you absolutely will do for the next ten years is actually fun and rewarding. Go to the animal shelter and bring home a beagle. Walk him every morning before you go to work, and every evening before you go to bed. After a week of this the beagle will **NOT** let you skip either walk, he's taking you for a walk come rain, snow, heat, or zombie apocalypse.

    Beagles have a bad rep for howling and digging, but those are bored dogs who don't get out. A walk twice a day will keep them from getting bored and keep you both in shape.
  • Re:Lazy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dixie_Flatline ( 5077 ) <> on Thursday March 14, 2013 @04:48PM (#43175881) Homepage

    Man, what is this? Of course exercise takes a time commitment. It's only your FUCKING HEALTH. Why shouldn't it take a time commitment?

    Listen, I know we all have busy days and too much to do and we'd like to sit down and relax. The answer is to work less and rest and relax more. I know that's hard to sell, but it's the honest truth.

    Wake up early, go to work, put in your 8 best hours, and then leave and go walk or run or ride your bike for an hour or two. On the weekends, do some exercise in the morning after a small breakfast, and then go for another walk or whatever before coming home to lunch. Then you can go on with the rest of your day.

    Don't look at exercise as a chore. You don't have to run marathons or train for them to be healthier. I listen to a lot of science podcasts while I ride and walk, so I'm always learning something.

    It's your life and health on the line here. What are you even working for if it's not to live a good life?

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian