Getting Exercise
December 11, 2003 11:22 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite ways of compensating physically for the hours of torture that are sitting in front of a computer? I find basketball, walking, and stretching to be very helpful, but it's not always easy to find the time.
posted by callmejay to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I lift weights three times a week and try to do cardio work on at least 2 of other days. Sound mind in a sound body and all that, donchya know. I weighed 290 when I started; in less than a year I lost 80 pounds. My energy is through the roof and I can't remember ever feeling so good about myself.

And I've discovered that time for exercise isn't found; it's made.
posted by keswick at 11:30 AM on December 11, 2003

It's tough and the worst part of doing web work, I find (before the web I spent my life doing physical things everyday).

It's a chore, but I try to run every other day, and bike when the sun is out instead of using a car. The past three weeks have been rainy everyday, so I haven't gotten out much, unfortunately.
posted by mathowie at 11:32 AM on December 11, 2003

I often find myself relaxing after a hard day of sitting in an office in front of a computer with a few quiet hours of sitting at home in front of a computer. Also with a bit of sleeping.

Actually, it's for just this reason (as well as to explore the area of the world east of the Bay Bridge) that I took up geocaching, which is mostly just an excuse for hiking and playing around in interesting places.
posted by majick at 11:39 AM on December 11, 2003

Working around the house. I bought an old house with a fair amount of upkeep knowing full well it would be a chore but also that the rewards would be worth the effort, in part the physical activity. There is a pay-off as you work around the house it increases the value so it is a motivation. Plus old houses are cool.
posted by stbalbach at 11:42 AM on December 11, 2003

Thank God for my exercise club membership. I am a former confirmed couch potato and it is almost unbelievable what a stress reliever exercise is. Not to mention the other benefits of weight loss, energy, etcetera. I also recommend the weight training along with the cardio. I do have more free time than most but these places usually open around 5:30 in the morning and have late hours.

I have actually gotten addicted to this and on the days I can't make it there I get antsy.
posted by konolia at 11:47 AM on December 11, 2003

yoga is great for stretching, strengthening and clearing the head.
posted by judith at 11:54 AM on December 11, 2003

Summer: mountain biking, running, tennis, hiking/camping trips whenever possible

Winter: beer and comic books
posted by COBRA! at 12:00 PM on December 11, 2003

*points at Attention Restoration Theory*

Outdoors, quiet places, places that are "away" from where you normally are, places that have enough of interest around that you can pay attention without having to focus. See also: The Need for Nature.
posted by claxton6 at 12:07 PM on December 11, 2003

Cycling when the weather and daylight allow it; weights, cardio, and fitness classes at the gym. Not that I don't get right back in front of the computer when I get home, mind you.
posted by Songdog at 12:11 PM on December 11, 2003

Cycle to work is my main source of excxercise. I'm more awake, I feel better, it's cheap, and I get an hour and a half exercise "for free" each day. It takes some planning, but I'd rather bike in traffic than sweat in a smelly gym any day.

On other days, soccer is good (cardio), so is yoga (flexability and strength). Tai Chi is fun if you can find an outdoor group. Volleyball is lots of fun, but isn't really a great workout (unless it's beach).

There's no one magic bullet for me. I have to do a variety of things to keep up my interest.
posted by bonehead at 12:29 PM on December 11, 2003

My girlfriend and I both work at home, and we're both in front of the computer pretty much all day. We started taking tai chi and kung fu classes again this summer, and the difference they have made is amazing. Also, like someone said, we bought an older home at the beginning of the year, and the upkeep and repair on the house and the yard keep us both pretty busy, and away from the glowing boxes.
posted by majcher at 12:56 PM on December 11, 2003

It's all about Dance Dance Revolution, at least for me. It's geeky and a little silly, but it's also a fun, addictive, full-on aerobic workout you can do at home. I lost about 30 pounds over six months, and there was a huge improvement in lower body muscle tone, including hard-to-work spots like the ass and thighs. Because it doesn't do much for your upper body, I like to throw in some weight lifting once or twice a week, though I suppose you could play DDR while holding running weights... holy crap, why did I never think of that before?! *runs off to try it*
posted by vorfeed at 1:06 PM on December 11, 2003

I'm a firedancer, and whenever I need to clear my head, I go in the backyard with my chains or staves, and twirl them around for a few minutes (without lighting up). 10-15 minutes at a stretch, a couple times a day, goes a long way. You can always squeeze that in.

Modern firedancing in many respects is a descendant of the club twirling that was popular about 100 years ago; one of the few athletic activities that both men and women could respectably participate in at the time, and an Olympic event back in the day too (as were other quaint pastimes, like tug-of-war).
posted by adamrice at 1:06 PM on December 11, 2003

I actually like to jump rope. Requires very little equipment (shoes and rope), I can do it inside (high ceilings) if I have to, and it gets your heart thumping pretty good. And push-ups serve as my weightlifting routine.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 1:22 PM on December 11, 2003

DDR actually works as an exercise method? I must admit I bought a cheapie copy for the PC and a pad off ebay for a few bucks just to see how unfunky I really am, and I could barely get past the intro tutorials.
posted by mathowie at 1:53 PM on December 11, 2003

Martial arts (jujutsu, judo, kickboxing) do it for me. Yoga and weightlifting are great stuff, but I'm not sufficiently in love with them to make time just because I know I need the workout. I keep making time for my martial arts because I love it. Then I'll end up making time for some yoga & weightlifting because they make me more effective in my martial arts. Moral of the story - find some activity you love. If you try to force yourself to work out just because you should, you'll find it hard to stay with it for very long.
posted by tdismukes at 2:10 PM on December 11, 2003

DDR actually works as an exercise method? I must admit I bought a cheapie copy for the PC and a pad off ebay for a few bucks just to see how unfunky I really am, and I could barely get past the intro tutorials.

Sure, it works. There's a "workout mode" that lets you play more-or-less non-stop, regardless of how well you're scoring, and it charts your calories for you. According to that, I burn about 350 kCal in forty-five minutes, or a bit more or less depending on the songs I pick. I usually play for about an hour and a half, Tuesday/Friday/Sunday, so that's about 700 kCal per session, for a weekly total of about 2100 kCal. The weekly recommendation for "fitness exercise" is 1500-2000 kCal, so I can easily meet it with DDR alone. It's a real, "make sure to drink lots of water and take a shower afterwards" workout, basically aerobics-in-a-game. Plus, you can show off in the arcades. ^___^

The only caveat is that those calories burned are for Maniac/Heavy 7-9 foot difficulty, which means you'll need to be pretty good at the game to burn calories that fast. A friend of mine was burning about 200 kCal per 45 minutes on Basic/Light difficulty, though, and that's enough to meet the recommended "health exercise" target. As for getting past the tutorials, DDR has a huge initial learning curve (otherwise known as the "what the hell am I supposed to be doing" stage), but after that it's pretty smooth sailing. If you stick with it, you'll get better.
posted by vorfeed at 2:46 PM on December 11, 2003

coffee until 5, alcohol after
posted by scarabic at 3:36 PM on December 11, 2003

Also: get an Aeron chair.

I've been sitting in this Aeron chair every day for the last 3 years and never had a single moment of back pain or soreness.

In fact, two years ago I was stuck in bed for a couple of weeks with sprained ankles, and my back did become sore from sitting up in bed all day. I couldn't wait to get back to work and sit at my Aeron chair again, and for the first few days back on my feet, the chair was the only place I was comfortable.
posted by scarabic at 3:39 PM on December 11, 2003

I get up at 5:30 to do gym-type workouts, only I can't afford a gym membership, so I work out at home.
posted by JanetLand at 4:17 PM on December 11, 2003

I weigh about 240 pounds, and I started running at my local school track every night. It really helps to do 1 lap the first day (unless running is easier for you),2 the next day, and so on. Excersize becomes easier with time. I typically try to go at least one mile, and it's given me a lot of self confidence and energy.
posted by Keyser Soze at 7:10 PM on December 11, 2003

As soon as I get $30, I'm going to be ordering these tapes. They're supposed to be really good, and they come with weights and you can do them in your living room! I'm a total klutz and I don't really have anywhere local to walk (I live in suburban hell; there is a park nearby but I've been leery of going there ever since I saw a bunch of teenagers beating up on each other there), so this looks like a good option.

In the meantime, I've got a couple of yoga tapes I'm going to break out and try.
posted by eilatan at 8:30 PM on December 11, 2003

Swimming does the trick for me. It seems to stretch you out again after a day hunched at the keyboard and it's very easy on the body (unlike running). Doing lengths of the pool sends me into a relaxed meditative state.
posted by echelon at 4:27 AM on December 12, 2003

I second the swimming. My local pool only has a small time period, around noon, to swim so it gives me a perfectly scheduled and routine time to do it. Only do it if you're going to swim relatively briskly though, I don't think there's as much benefit to swimming leisurely and you won't achieve that simultaneous tired but energized feeling when you're done (the feeling that breaks me out of the sitting-in-my-chair-blahs).
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 7:06 AM on December 12, 2003

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