I Tried It: 1 Minute of Exercise Every Hour

Like many of you, my day job requires me to sit behind a desk for an average of 9 hours a day.  Sometimes the caffeinated power of coffee feels like my only saving grace. I find the more I sit the more tired and zoned out I feel.  Contrary to popular belief, moderate exercise won’t exhaust you, it will fuel you.  But did you know that even if you fulfill the suggested recommendation of exercising for 75 – 150 minutes each week, you’re still not doing your body much good if you spend the majority of the rest of your time sitting.  A sedentary lifestyle slows your metabolism and increases your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and even cancer.  Scary stuff, right?

I’m an avid exercise fanatic. I get a kick out of trying various fitness classes as well as creating my own circuit workouts.  But alas, those 9 sedentary work hours a day have started to worry me.  I can only walk back and forth to the water cooler so many times a day before my coworkers start thinking I’m some weird water-chugging freak.  So, in an effort to thwart falling into the sedentary trap and becoming a shapeless blob of mush, I recently instituted a new rule: 1 minute of exercise every hour.  Getting up and moving around stops your body from going into shutdown mode.

This challenge isn’t particularly daunting, but the hardest part is remembering to actually get up and move around every hour (which can be especially difficult during a busy work day).  To make sure I didn’t miss a minute, I set my phone’s alarm clock and I recruited a couple coworkers to join in on the fun (plus I didn’t look like a total weirdo doing a minute of jumping jacks by myself).


Me and my coworkers exhilarated during 1 minute of lunges

Here’s an account of what went down:

  • 9 am – Arrive at work after standing for a 20 minute subway ride followed by a brisk 10 minute walk to the office.
  • 10 am – 1 minute of jumping jacks. Feeling energetic… but maybe it’s just the morning cup of coffee kicking in.
  • 11 am – (An hour has already flown by?!) 1 minute of lunges. Heart rate is up –  feeling refreshed!
  • 12 pm – 1 minute of tricep dips.  My coworker’s reaction after 30 seconds, “This is hard. Longest minute ever.”
  • 1 pm – 1 minute of standing crunches.  Whew! I’m more alert and focused when I return to my desk.
  • 2 pm – 1 minute of squats. Feeling the burn.
  • 3 pm – 1 minute of standing toe touches.  Stretch it out.
  • 4 pm – 1 minute wall sit.  My coworkers almost give up at the 40 second mark, but end up hanging tough.
  • 5 pm – 1 minute of arm circles.  Okay, I’ll admit we might have started running out of 1 minute exercise ideas.
  • 6 pm – Pack it up, pack it in. 10 minute speed-walk to the subway followed by a 20 minute standing commute.

The verdict?  We’re looking good, feeling good.  Sure, 1 minute every hour isn’t going to whip us into shape, but it definitely helped revive our energy levels and increase our focus.  Now it’s time for you to give it a try and let me know what you think!


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