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Exercise #14 – Slackercising

One thing I realized when I started writing this blog is that not everyone has a job quite so flexible as mine.  Meaning they can’t easily fit things like exercise and healthy eating into their schedule.  The advantage of an otherwise dreary job like public accounting is that you don’t necessarily have to work nine to five.  Spreadsheets function about the same at night as they do during business hours, so if I need to take a break during the day and make it up later, it’s very doable.  And that means it’s easy to squeeze in some active time too.

Lots of people who aren’t so flexible complain that physician activity is a lot harder to fit in.  Now, for most of us, this is an excuse.  The journalistic outlet owned by our future space-faring billionaire (soon to be trillionaire) overlord reports that people, on average, spend almost as much time watching TV as they do working.  So, most of us just need to fit in a 30-minute workout and watch a little less.  

But some people, particularly those at the lower end of the earning spectrum, actually don’t have a lot of free time.  They may work multiple jobs.  I’ve met many such people, but the one I remember most clearly was a guy who worked at Blockbuster.  Which probably tells you how long ago this was and how old I am.

When I took the movies I was renting to the checkout counter (DVDs, not VHS.  I’m not that old) I recognized him.  “Didn’t I see you working at Staples yesterday?” I asked.  He nodded.  “Working two jobs,” I said with respect.  I was working two at the time as well.  At which time he made me feel inadequate, when he told me he worked five jobs.  

This guy was obviously working himself to the bone.  And I could forgive him for not finding time to work out, because…that’s a lot of jobs.  But I also noticed he wasn’t overweight at all.  And there’s a reason for that.  Because the types of jobs people have when they have more than one usually include at least one job that requires that you be on your feet.

This is why my wife wasn’t overweight when she worked at Popeyes chicken, despite the fact that she got all of the free fried chicken she wanted.  It’s also why I wasn’t overweight when I worked at Papa John’s, even though I got lots of free pizza.  Even though I’ve noted before that eating lots of fried things and lots of pizza can contribute to the waistline, we were burning it off as we worked.  Because when you spend the better part of an eight-hour shift on your feet, you burn 600 to 1,000 calories.  Even light work adds up over a long shift.

And not all work in a shift is light.  The drunks of the world can bear witness to this.  Because they see how bartenders work on the weekends.  They spend a shift rushing around like lunatics serving drinks to boozers and tourists.  This kind of hustle can burn over 200 to 400 calories per hour, depending on how many alcoholics you help circle the drain of life.  

And seriously active work is even better.  I once worked in a warehouse in my youth.  Loading and unloading trucks for eight hours can burn upwards of 1,500 calories.  Especially if you work for our spacefaring future global overlord.  Because you apparently don’t even get a bathroom break in those places.  You are moving constantly, so it’s easier to stay thin. As long as your bladder doesn’t burst, you’ll be really healthy.

But the United States has been moving away from active jobs for years.  The types of jobs we’ve moved to generally pay better, but they’re very sedentary.  So, it’s easy to pack on pounds.  Which is why it may be useful to find ways to add in little bits of activity to your day if you’re a desk jockey.

Fortunately, it is possible to work while standing these days.  The stand-up desks or the little things you can put under a computer to raise them up to chest level are readily available.  And standing while you work can burn 150 to 200 calories per hour.  This is also a useful tip after work, if you go to a bar with friends.  Drinking can ruin a diet, but if you stand at the bar the whole night, you’ll burn those calories off as quickly as you drink them.  Unless you really have a drinking problem.

Another thing that requires standing (and is also good for other reasons) is cooking for yourself.  Spending thirty minutes on your feet cooking a meal adds up over time.  And doing the dishes after the meal (or other things your wife/husband/whatever insists that you do) adds up too.  Finding excuses to stand up while working or performing chores is an easy way to keep in shape.

But what about our leisure time?  What about the excessive time we spend glued to the boob tube?  Well, there are things you can do about that.  Instead of lifting the remote constantly, you can lift a weight or two.  If you’re convinced you’ll absolutely die if you don’t binge watch The Crown or Game of Thrones or whatever, at least do a few arm curls while doing it.  Lifting weights is a pretty decent workout.

But this isn’t the only option.  There are actually little bike pedal thingies (seriously, all you have to do is google “pedal thingies” to find one) that you can pedal on while you’re watching TV.  And this will burn 600 calories or so per hour.  And they fit under your desk at work too.  There are even televisions that are powered by stationary bicycles.  This is a real thing.  But I think it’s a bit too risky.  Not for health hazards, obviously.  It’s more of a FOMO risk.  With my luck, I’d probably get tired just as Tom Brady throws another Super Bowl winning pass (Go Bucs) and miss it.

Of course, you could also just jog in place in front of the TV for an hour to burn 600 calories.  Or better yet, get an elliptical machine.  It’s easier on the knees.  Of course, you don’t have to buy an elliptical.  You could use one at a gym.  But trust me, watching Netflix at home while using the elliptical is better than watching the CNN ticker at the gym.  Even if my wife is forcing me to watch Downton Abbey.

The truth is, not having time isn’t an excuse to not be active.  Even if you have less time due to multiple jobs, you probably still have time.  Almost anyone can find thirty minutes a day to squeeze physical activity in their work or their leisure time.  Some people are fortunate enough to be able to walk or bike to work, and others have time to do a more active form of leisure.  But even if you don’t, you can combine exercise with that TV watching time or desk jockeying time. Just use a little imagination, and you can fit it into almost any schedule.


Published by drilldowndiet

Formerly obese CPA/health humorist using Cronometer and FitBod to lose weight. Sharing assorted life hacks to squeeze nutrition and exercise into a busy schedule. Also on Twitter at @drilldowndiet and Facebook.

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