People will spend hours arguing with complete strangers on the internet why they don’t have twenty minutes for a workout.
I imagine there are people – about five – who really can’t squeeze a few hours of exercise into their week.
A few of them (about two) might even be pressed for time for reasons unrelated to shitty scheduling and social media addictions.
What should they do?
See, there’s this assumption that exercise has to mean putting on something pink and embarrassing, driving halfway across town, trying not to make eye contact with tattooed behemoths/obvious professional companions in the locker room, and paying through the nose to be humiliated by a guy who couldn’t even land a job as a PE teacher.
Here’s the thing: you can actually fit a decent amount of exercise into your day by using the various small lulls, gaps and pauses.
Example for busy office workers:
Every time you get up from your desk for any reason, just drop and do twenty (ten, five, fifty, depends on you) pushups.
Even while sitting, you can work your abs.
While the coffee machine is working, time to do ten squats. Every time.
(There’s also the stealth sex in the copy room, but we don’t talk about that. Primarily because my workplace doesn’t have a copy room, and I work with dudes, including an armed ex-cop and a gigantic half-Buryat from Magadan.)
Intermittent physical activity during the day is actually really healthy and recommended by doctors. It also improves your mood, and helps your brain work better. It’s a pure win.
If your colleagues give you funny looks, tell them what and why you’re doing. Maybe they’ll join you.
You’ll be surprised how much activity you can squeeze into the busiest of days.
It’s like the story about the philosophy teacher who demonstrated the importance of prioritizing by pouring a surprising amount of pebbles into a container already apparently completely filled with big rocks, and then an equally surprising amount of sand into that, which filled all the gaps, demonstrating there’s always more space if you proceed in the right order. If he started with the sand, the pebbles and rocks wouldn’t have fit.
At which point, a variant of the story goes, a student proceeded to pour beer into the container. No, it wasn’t me, but it does sound like something I’d do.
Always room for finer things.
By using the gaps and making a bit of an ass of myself in front of the coffee machine, I managed to double the amount of exercise I get, without needing to reschedule anything, or even feeling like I’m doing any extra work. I find myself doing easily 100 pushups per day, just by doing 10 every time I get up from the desk for any reason.
Add taking the stairs whenever possible and walking everywhere within a kilometer’s radius (man, the people who drive to the corner shop, that’s Darwin right there), and you barely need any actual dedicated exercise to keep in okay shape. Obviously, it’s not a replacement for an Olympic athlete’s regimen, and it won’t give you the classical ideal body – you gotta lift heavy for that – but for most people who just want to keep reasonably fit and healthy and maybe shed a few kilos, it’s good enough. And definitely better than the nothing that would otherwise be their baseline.
Of course, when you do actually hit the gym or go for a swim, or swing a kettlebell into furniture at home, it all adds up.
Everyone’s day is different, so you’ll have to figure out the exact ways you can do this and make it work for you. You see the principle, though, so work with that.
Just fill the fucking gaps.
You may also like to fill the gaps in my coffee budget by buying me one. Or tip bitcoin, and tear your hair out ten years from now when the it’s worth five million dollars.