This weekend Jeff Rogers, who is credited with getting Bon Iver's Justin Vernon to work out, will be holding fitness events in Hudson Park (you can still sign up for Friday's). Yesterday, between his arrival in NYC from Wisconsin and his arrival at Radio City Music Hall, he was nice enough to carve out some time to get Gothamist staff moving (we've been hunched over our computers for ten years so this was no small feat!). He also gave us some tips for keeping fit on the daily, since sitting down all day long can kill you—we suggest you read what he has to say below (and buy his DVD!). And if you're a believer in the cult of Cross Fit, you may not want to scroll down to the end.
If people only have a limited amount of time to work out, what are the best three exercises someone should do? The most important thing is to pick something, anything, that you will do. Make it a lifelong commitment… a promise to yourself. Some examples include: brisk walking, knee raises, and toe touches. Try partnering, it helps keep commitment and has the side benefit of keeping two people healthy.
Does even five minutes of dynamic stretching help? What's the difference between static and dynamic stretching? Any stretching is good and always feels good. Static stretching temporarily increases muscular flexibility. Dynamic stretching adds dimension "preventive resilience" (warm-up) as opposed to simply limbering the muscles. It better prepares you for physical activity and to some degree can replace it for those with limited time. Dynamic stretching extends the activity beyond it’s normal range.
What are a few exercises people can do at their desks during the day? The big thing with office exercises is getting started. Ideally a group could develop an office culture that promotes rather than ridicules activity. Easy desk-side exercises include tricep dips, isometric curls, toe touches, wall sits, knee raises, and desk pushups.
How often should people who work 8-12 hours at a desk get up to move around/for how long? This is a question that is about to get more attention. There is a recent journal article called “Sitting too long raises death risk.” The article reported by Amanda Chan sites the research of Alpa Patel PHD of the American Cancer Society. The essence of the article is that men and women who sit at desks more than 6 hours per day were far more likely to die than those who sat far less. It is not surprising to see that the causes of mortality were heart related. It seems to me then, that it would be appropriate to get up and move perhaps every two hours for 10 to 15 minutes. It also seems likely that these “little breaks” are probably good for mood and thought and could help production!
And can you talk about Cross Fit a little bit—what are your issues with it? I don’t dislike Cross Fit or any other intense physical activity, it is just the implication (and invitation) that these exercises are okay for most people. If you are already in peak physical condition and love to push yourself then Cross Fit and it’s similar regimens are okay. Most people are simply not at that level. We are still fighting obesity and inactivity. When you take someone who is new to exercise or who might be at an early or midlevel stage of development and place them in an environment for which they are not yet ready, you are dooming them to failure and in all likelihood discouraging physical improvement. Exercising is a lifelong process between you and your body which makes it crucial that you find routines that make you comfortable and keep you coming back.