Retail Workout
October 7, 2011 9:27 AM   Subscribe

Are there any simple things I can do to burn off a few extra calories/tone up some muscles during my downtime at work without looking ridiculous?

I fairly recently started a retail job--I'm a cashier in the front and have some small freedom of movement within my area. Because of the location/type of store, I have some long periods of downtime where I'm waiting for customers to come in, but can't really do anything productive work-wise.

The first month or so I was too exhausted/sore from adjusting to the new routine to want to do anything that required extra physical effort, but now I'm looking to start getting rid of some of the extra weight I put on while finishing up my thesis and then the months of unemployment afterwards.

I know I can't really do anything high-impact under this scenario, and thus it won't be amazingly effective, but every little bit helps. I wear the rocker bottom shoes (bought for the comfort rather than exercise potential) and that seems to do a little, and I move around as much as possible and stretch, but what else can I add to my two-birds-with-one-stone fitness plan? Preferably working something other than my legs, but open to all suggestions.
posted by kittenmarlowe to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can always work your calves by standing on your toes, hold for 5 seconds, and then lowering your self back down - repeat for say 15 - 20 times, do a set of 3 or 4 per day. Easy and not too out of the ordinary looking.
posted by amazingstill at 9:31 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When I'm in the restroom, I stand for 30 seconds on one foot, then the other, with my knee raised high. It's excellent practice for your balance and it wakes up the muscles in your ankles, calves and butt.

For my arms, I place the palms of my hands flat on the underside of my desk, square up my shoulders and lift with my biceps. I feel that in my upper arms and the lateral muscles of my back.
posted by workerant at 9:46 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Squeeze a stress ball/tennis ball?
posted by Pax at 10:10 AM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Does your cash wrap have 2 flat corners that come together? I'm at a desk all day but I squeeze in dips when I can.
posted by doorsfan at 10:23 AM on October 7, 2011

Air squats, maybe.
posted by The Lamplighter at 11:11 AM on October 7, 2011

Best answer: Keigels, obviously, but they won't make you look more toned. Work your glutes by standing on one leg and raising the other just a few inches back and out. Stretch/strengthen your forearms by pressing the fingertips of one hand down on the nails of the other which resists back - it looks like you're fidgeting, maybe, but it builds strength. Do "push ups" against the counter top by standing with your feet back and leaning forward a little?

If you could bring in a resistance band you could add a bunch more, but that might look a little too much like working out and not enough like working.
posted by ldthomps at 11:18 AM on October 7, 2011

What about isometric exercises?
posted by mecran01 at 12:02 PM on October 7, 2011

Got a handy stairwell? I used to work in a 5-story office building and always made a point of not using the elevator. If you have a few minutes for a break, a quick up/down the stairs works wonders.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:08 PM on October 7, 2011

Best answer: Incline pushups off the counter?
posted by decathecting at 1:52 PM on October 7, 2011

Best answer: Your legs are the largest muscle groups in the body so working those is going to burn more energy. Slight knee bends (just to dip your head a few inches, not a full out squat) and toe lifts will be easy to recover from. You could also bring in a couple hand weights and keep them behind the counter and do various side-to-side and front-to-back arm-over-head bends (again, very gentle) to move the abs around.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:11 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Dips are good; if you can find anything about shoulder width that you can place your palms on, you can do dips. A couple of chairs works. You might be able to find something in your cashier station that you can dip on. Good for triceps, shoulders, wrist, maybe handgrip.

I have a very slowpoke friend; when meeting at his place to go out, I buzz him, tell him to get down from his apartment, takes forever. There's a metal pipe railing (one bar at waist level, another bar at just above knee level) - I'll sit on the top railing, hook my feet under the lower railing, lean back 90 degrees (parallel to the ground), and do "sit ups" with my arms either folded, palms on opposite shoulders, or with my fingers laced behind my head.

The doorframes at the lab have these heavy-duty frames; the top juts out enough that I can grip them to do pullups/pressups.

If there's anyplace to wedge your toes, you can do crunches/sit-ups. If you have a cooperative coworker, they can sit on your feet, or you can crab-weave your legs so both of you can do alternating sit-ups. Crunches can be done without wedging your feet, btw.

There's always pushups, and elevated pushups (where you put your feet above where your palms are, all the way up to doing pushups while doing a handstand).
posted by porpoise at 8:25 PM on October 7, 2011

Ross Enamait has some good books on exercise one can do without any equipment. Convict Conditioning is another mostly decent one. Finally, you could pick up some from the TrainForStrength workout, which is good.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 2:04 AM on October 8, 2011

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