Since starting this journey almost 3 weeks ago, I have been steadily increasing my exercise level. When I started I knew that eventually I would need to add trips to the gym to my plan, but initially I wanted to find ways to exercise in my normal day. After all, even if I go to the gym 4 or 5 times a week, I still am spending far more time at work, then I ever would at the gym.
The strategy I decided to use is to walk more at work, and to climb more stairs. A quick background first, then I will tell you how I am approaching more exercise at work, without impacting my productivity.
My office is in a two-floor, L-shaped building. Down the middle of both wings of the building is a wide hallway on each floor. From one end of the building to the other is ¼ of a mile, so a full lap in the building is ½ mile. This has been measured by others, but being the IT guy that I am, I verified it with my Fitbit. My office is on the second floor near the end of one of the legs. The cafeteria and company store are in the other wing, and near the center.
Here is how I have added more walking and more stairs to my day:
Parking further away
Because so many people work in the building, we have a large parking lot. When it isn’t raining, and the temperature is not below zero, I have been parking at the far end of the parking lot for my wing. This adds a minimum of ¼ mile to my walking, just to get in and out of the building. On days when I eat away from the building, this doubles.
Taking the long trip to the cafeteria or company store
Typically I make a trip to the cafeteria in the morning. Once I have finished my first cup of coffee, and others have arrived, we take a quick break and head down. I used to frequently get something to eat or another cup of coffee, but I have replaced that with filling my Nalgene bottle with ice water. And, when I go down to the cafeteria, I make sure I walk a full lap in the building. This adds a minimum of ¼ mile of walking to my day.
Taking laps in the morning and afternoon
I have been taking at least one full lap each morning and afternoon. I work them in between meetings. It takes about 10 minutes to do a full lap. Each time I can do this it adds ½ mile to my walking.
A two-lap trip at lunch time
Most days I eat in the cafeteria. Before starting this journey I would stay at my table long after I was done eating, either reading articles on my phone, or talking to friends. Now I have replaced that time with two laps of the building. This is a full mile of walking at lunch.
Using the stairs whenever I go to the bathroom
As I mentioned, my office is on the second floor. This week I have added the idea of always using the first floor bathroom. That means that each trip gives me another floor climbed to add to my total.
When taking laps through the building, I try to work in at least one trip to the first floor and back. Typically I do two. This has increased my stair climbing dramatically.
The natural first concern is whether I am taking away from my work time to take these walks. The simple answer is no. I am salaried, so I rarely work a simply 8 hour day. The key to my job success is getting my work done, not watching a clock. The minimal amount of time I spend walking is usually reflected in staying a little later, but I have noticed something else. When I am walking, especially when alone, I am working out some things in my mind. When I get back I am far more efficient at solving problems, answering email and the like. Not only have I had some good think time while walking, but with the boost in my metabolism I have more energy when I am at my desk.
The results so far have been that I have continued on my weight loss journey, and I have noticed that I am getting into better shape. The trips up the stairs don’t wind me quite as much as they did, and I find myself climbing them faster.
I plan to keep walking and stair climbing in my routine at work. As the weather continues to improve, I will do more of the walking outside where a single lap of the building is .7 miles. While doing that I will also enjoy some sunshine!