At various points over the past few years, I have been fortunate to basically have a gym as my office. I’ve worked near treadmills, exercise bikes, light free weights, and a bunch of machines (bench press, leg press, a chin-up bar, etc). The gyms have always been for research and data collection, but there were plenty of opportunities for those of us working in the lab to pop out and do a quick set almost anytime we liked. And it was awesome.
During my time in the lab I would often take a short break to do a set of bench press, chin-ups, or leg press. And when I had to do some reading (which, as a researcher, is pretty often), I would do it while riding one of the exercise bikes. Most of the time I did all these exercises while wearing my work clothes (typically jeans and a dress shirt or polo shirt). It felt a bit strange to do bench press while wearing a dress shirt, but it saved soooooo much time. By the end of the day it was great to know that I didn’t have to spend another 45 minutes working out, as I’d already done a full workout spread throughout the day. And after an hour or two staring at a computer screen, it feels really good to do something physical for a change.
Why can’t every workplace be like this? Aside from the obvious fact that most of us don’t work in a gym. But it wouldn’t be that hard to place a few weight machines within an office building. Like one of those outdoor gyms you sometime see in parks, but in the break room. I now work in a traditional office, which is conveniently located in a building beside a gym. And yet I already do WAY less weight training than I have done in other work environments where workout equipment was never more than a few feet away.
Wouldn’t it be great to walk down the hall and see someone riding a bike while wearing high heels, or doing bench press in a polo shirt? Wouldn’t you feel better if you could workout during the day, rather than sitting the whole time? And think of the time it would save (or the extra workouts you would get in).
I realize this is a bit of a pipe dream. So, for now, I’m saving up all my reading so that I can do it all in batches while I ride the bike at the gym. And I will close my office door to do push-ups every once in a while without people thinking I’m a weirdo. Maybe I can fit a chin-up bar behind the door? Next time you’re bored at work consider trying a little resistance training (assuming it’s safe, of course). I bet you will be glad you did.