How You Can Exercise All Day and Still Get Stuff Done


Exercise via US National Archives

Like many people, I struggle to find the time to exercise during the day. I’ve been able to make it a priority, but often at the expense of other worthwhile pursuits and hobbies. All of these things are good, and I want to make time for all of them.

During the work day, I usually sit in my office, at my desk, typing away. I may trade my computer for paper & pen, but I’m still sitting most of the day, and there’s growing evidence sitting isn’t the best thing for you. I want to move, but I can’t just leave the office to go exercise.

Sound familiar?

I want to share with you something that I’ve been doing for several weeks, and it has changed my exercise habits. The key word is Habit, because exercise has become just that.

The dictionary describes a habit as:

“a settled or regular tendency or practice, esp. one that is hard to give up”

Instead of carving out a single 30-45 minute block, I take little swipes at it throughout the day. This habit keeps me involved, focused, energized, and you can do these exercises anywhere with no equipment.

I call it the All Day Workout.

The basis of the All Day Workout is that you pick 4-6 movements that you do at intervals throughout the day. The movements are quick, short, and in a small time frame, so you can do them anywhere, and also not get too sweaty or smelly in a work environment.

All you need to remember is: 15 seconds every 15 minutes.

That’s it.

On your watch, set the timer to beep every 15 minutes. When it beeps, take a 15 second break to move however you want. Here are some examples of body-weight exercises you can use, and none of them require equipment (watch videos here).

  • Pushups
  • Squats
  • Burpees
  • Lunges

Remember, you’re only moving for 15 seconds! This helps you feel refreshed and gets the blood flowing, without working up a sweat or smell that’s going to follow you in to the next meeting.

Moving like this has helped me immeasurably throughout the day. I feel less stressed, more active, energetic, and less hungry. Movement also breaks up a project and helps clear my mind for upcoming tasks. I love it.

To see the cumulative benefits of the All Day Workout, in terms of total output, here’s what I did on Friday.

Total Hours Exercised – 6 (at 4 intervals/hour = 24 intervals = 6 minutes total exercise)

  • Pushups: 90 (15 reps x 6 intervals)
  • Squats: 72 (12 reps x 6 intervals)
  • Lunges: 36 per leg (6 reps x 6 intervals)
  • Burpees: 30 (5 reps x 6 intervals)

Not bad for 6 minutes eh? Remember that these are my numbers. Yours will be different. The beauty is this program meets you where you are physically. Do it for yourself.

A normal work day is 8 hours. I only listed 6 hours exercised because as we all know, things happen during the day. You can’t drop and do pushups during your meeting, and you want to have a peaceful lunch. If your timer passes 15 minutes and you can’t move, it’s ok. Pick it up next time, or the time after that. Cumulative effort will pay off! Plus, the hope is for less stress and better health, so don’t add to your stress by thinking about a missed interval. There will be more opportunities.

Obviously, this doesn’t have to simply happen during your work day. Consider waking up, setting your timer, and moving all day! Imagine the effect! I will talk about that more another time, as well as simple equipment exercises that will take your All Day Workout to the next level.

What do you think? Do you believe this could be something attainable for you at home or the office? Since I have just recently begun this myself, I would love to hear your thoughts!

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One thought on “How You Can Exercise All Day and Still Get Stuff Done

  1. That’s a really cool idea! I would imagine that you could use this “All Day” model for any other kind of discipline or personal challenge as well. As we are reading (or re-reading) the Gospel of Mark to prepare for camp, we could read a small pericope every 15 minutes or half hour for a period of time each day. This would be better than reading longer passages at one time, I would imagine, and it would allow you to reflect better. Very adaptable; I like it!

    So, do you stay at work til 5:06pm to compensate for the six minute exercises? 🙂

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