In a former life I was athletic, and though chicken wings and burritos have grown my waist size, I still consider physical activity to be part of my life. Riding my bike to work is my favourite way to build exercise into my daily routine, but now that I work at home, the daily cycling commute has disappeared. As a Chromatic team member, I have the freedom to go cycling anytime, but I'll admit it's harder and harder to do so as temperatures drop and winter approaches. Accordingly, I have taken steps to increase my in-house activity.
Step 1: Standing Desk
We all know that it is unhealthy to sit all day. At my former job, I was visited once a year and asked if I had any requests concerning my work environment. Each time I requested a standing desk and they responded, "You know? You're not the only one asking. We'll make a note of it." Notes were taken, and that's where it ended.
Now that I work at home I no longer have to wait for someone to take action on those notes, and a few weeks ago I took delivery of a standing desk. You burn hundreds of extra calories by standing during your working day and the freedom to move around, sway back and forth or even dance on the spot is awesome. (A nice overview of standing vs. sitting at work can be found in this BBC article.) The desk I have is adjustable and allows me to sit if I want, but so far my chair has been shoved to the corner of the room and there it remains.
Step 2: The Git Commit Workout
One of the client projects I work on is Outside Magazine. Outside is dedicated to outdoor pursuits and its website includes, amongst other things, a section on fitness. While working on a user story, I came across a short video titled The Only Workout You'll Ever Need. In it, a fitness guru named Steve Maxwell shows the host a semi-eponymous exercise he devised, called The Maxercist. It is based on the observations of the "father of the modern obstacle course", a French naval officer from 100 years ago named Georges Hébert, who identified 10 basic human movements. (Examples include running, climbing, jumping etc.) The Maxercist incorporates all of these basic human movements into one exercise. (Well, it leaves out pull-ups so you have to do those separately.) The video also mentions another thing I have heard a lot - namely, that you can derive measurable benefits from only minutes of high-intensity exercise. (Again, another BBC article.)
Now, anything that is "the only [insert thing here] you'll ever need" piques one's curiosity so I gave the exercise a try. After a few reps, I was breathing hard and after a few more some of my lesser-used muscles began to inquire what I was up to. It was pretty much a full-body workout condensed into a matter of minutes, in my home office.
Now that I had found this exercise, I needed a way to incorporate it into my daily routine and I came up with the Git Commit Workout. Whenever I commit code I take a short break and do a set of 5 or 6 Maxercists. (Try doing that at your old job.) I generally run
git commit several times a day and on a good day I'll do over 30 reps.
I just love the idea of merging exercise into my regular work day without completely interrupting my flow. Sure, sometimes I'll want to break it up and go for a bike ride or a run, but it's far easier to take a few minutes here and there and do a set of Maxercists.
Heck, I think I'll go do a set now.