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Working Out the Problems of a Workout at Work


In this column, we try to find ways to get exercise in our daily lives, especially when we don’t have time to get to the gym.I

The most obvious workout location is… work. Besides the name, there is a deep connection between work and working out: for most of our history, we stayed in shape lugging logs for our caveman fires and running from wooly mammoths. Those days are history. Now, the only log we log is in, the only running we run is Xeroxes. And my waistline shows the results: if I still lived in the stone age, I would be mammoth meat.

What’s more, the office is monkey-wrenching our quest for health. It’s a calorie bomb – sheet cakes, candy bowls, unhealthy vending machine food. And a stress bomb – demanding bosses, looming deadlines, a tight economy – and stress contributes to fat. Work makes you buy bigger work suits.

So let’s work together to see if we can find ways to switch our current, unhealthy work routines for new, healthier ones, as recommended by health and fitness experts. It’s time for the Work-workout! The Work-Out! Office-cize! (We’re still working on a catchy name.)

Situation: Your office is announcing cutbacks, and you might be on the termination list.

Old WORK routine: Clench every muscle in your body as tightly as possible, in an anxious attempt to will yourself into keeping your job.

Old outcome: Increased risk of stroke.

New WORKOUT routine: Desk squats! Put your hands on the front of the desk and squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Try two-three minutes, if you can.

New outcome: Toned thighs, sculpted buns, and a reputation as Squatty Chick, making your termination that much more probable.

Situation: Your office is on the eighth floor, and you ate a burrito for lunch.

Old WORK routine: Step into the elevator alone; release some burrito-related gastrointestinal pressure; on the fifth floor the doors open, your boss enters the cloud.

Old outcome: Chub on the belly, plus your new office nickname is “Stink Boy.”

New WORKOUT routine: Take the stairs!

New outcome: A slimmer waistline, and you can cropdust flights two through seven.

Situation: Your boss returns your presentation to you for the fourth time, with only the feedback, “Can this be better?”

Old WORK routine: Bang your forehead on the desk.

Old outcome: Headache.

New WORKOUT routine: Stand up and shadow box in the general direction of your boss’s office!

New outcome: Sleek triceps, and an afternoon with H.R. learning the term “hostile work environment.”

Situation: No more spots in the company parking lot, because Jim, who lives two freaking blocks away, still insists on driving.

Old WORK routine: Circle the block for a space, blood pressure rising toward “scientific notation” territory.

New WORKOUT routine: Take the bus to work! Then commandeer the bus, floor it, and smash it into Jim’s stupid Honda.

New outcome: Evening news.

Situation: Afternoon munchies.

Old WORK routine: Walk to the vending machine for a Twix.

Old outcome: A backside that, in terms of square footage, rivals the Pentagon.

New WORKOUT routine: Leave the office and jog over to Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant on 16th Street for a healthy salad. Then realize that your job does not fulfill you creatively or spiritually; jog to Chatauqua for a hike; enjoy the scenery; don’t go back to the office that afternoon. Never. Go. Back.

New outcome: Health, happiness, poverty.

Good luck. If you follow these simple tips, you’ll not only reduce your stress, but you’ll be the fittest unemployed person in Boulder County.

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