24 January 2012

Lunch hour workout

You’re busy, so I’ll keep this short: you put in a full day’s work, have an active family life, a part-time MBA and a pet project. When do you find time to work out?


You’re busy, so I’ll keep this short: you put in a full day’s work, have an active family life, a part-time MBA and a pet project involving some flight simulator software. When do you find time to work out?
Lunchtime. It’s when some of your colleagues will sit around eating deep-fried toasted bacon sandwiches with fried eggs on the side. Others will slip out for a quick beer, or try to catch up on emails to their cousins in Perth.

All of these folk will struggle through the latter part of the afternoon, feeling foggy and rubbing reddened eyes.

Get those shoes on
You, on the hand, will seize the day, or at least the lunch-hour. You slip out of your corporate beetlecrushers and into a pair of cross-trainers designed by Nasa, endorsed by a scowling, seven-foot basketball superstar and made by people in sweat shops in Korea.

Having scoffed down two bananas an hour ago you’re raring to go. The clouds had looked ominous, but seeing that you were planning to go out whatever the weather, the bright sunshine is simply a bonus.

You set off, walking briskly. An hour among the glowing, toned bodies and clanking apparatus at the gym would have been wonderful, but there’s no time today, what with traveling there and back, showering afterwards and getting immaculately groomed again.

A brisk 30-minute walk and some exercises will have to do.

Energised for the afternoon
You return feeling energised, making a mental note that tomorrow’s the day you climbed the stairs for half and hour instead of walking.

You know that the exercise will accelerate your metabolism, reduce your blood pressure and overall cholesterol levels and increase bone density. It’ll also release endorphins, those nifty and entirely legal chemicals that’ll give a mood boost when Simpkins in accounts is putting the department through Death By PowerPoint at 3 p.m..

Desk exercises
You do some easy stretches easing the tightness out of those legs. Then you grab the edge of your desk and bend over it. You tense your stomach muscles and pull the tension outwards. When you look at your belly you can see that you’re starting to get this move right.

You can “wave” the stomach muscles outwards and in again. It’s an old yoga move with a long name and like all yoga moves it improves posture and makes sure all your organs are in the right place, but won’t give you big biceps.

Now for some push-ups: down you go. (Remember to close your office door!) You start with your hands wide apart, further than your shoulders. Keeping your back straight, you do three sets of 20, feeling the strain in your back muscles and chest.

Next, move your hands directly beneath your shoulders and do another three sets of 20, ignoring the protests from your triceps and deltoids.

Finally, the killer: move your hands inwards so that your thumbs and index fingers form a triangle on the floor. Go for three sets of 20, keeping your elbows out to the side and feeling the pull in your inner chest muscles.

Stretching upwards, you feel alive and alert. There’s a smoked chicken and pasta salad in the fridge, along with some still bottled water and an apple. You’ll have some green tea as you catch up on e-mails and the clock strikes 2 p.m. It’s going to be a good afternoon. (William Smook)


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