Maintaining Your Corporeal Form [exercise thread]


like many of you, my day job is at a desk.
like some of you (probably), i don’t get enough physical exercise.

every time i hear about one of my coworkers battling back pain or dealing with some other ailment that is somehow tied to inactivity a voice in my head tells me to get in shape or at least exercise a little bit to stave off injuries that will adversely affect my quality of life. but usually that voice fades by the evening, and i don’t do anything about it. the voice has been in my head for a couple days now, so i think i’m finally going to put together a bit of a “workout plan” i can do in 20-30 minutes each morning.

how do you maintain your corporeal form?

i’ll start: i’ve always hated “working out” and avoided the gym like the plague, but it’s seeming like some maintenance exercise is necessary looking forward. i’m currently researching exercises i can do at home to work out my legs, back, and arms.



Pretty much in the same situation here :slight_smile: And I also hate the gym or working out. I started yoga a few months ago and tries to have regular sessions (not always successfully, especially this last month as I’ve been travelling a lot).

Doing “exercise” in general is very hard for me because it’s doesn’t feel enjoyable. Moving more, going to the park, visiting museums, etc helps. It’s not comparable to a workout but it increases the overall weekly physical activity.

1 Like


I’m a huge fan of exercise. I’ve been a runner for many years. I usually aim for about 20 miles/week. Lately I’ve been trying to work more calisthenics and some strength training into my routine.

Exercise isn’t enjoyable for anyone who doesn’t do it regularly. The key is habituation. Instead of worrying about how much you’re doing in each session, focus on having those sessions with great frequency and regularity. Then you’ll be able to build up from there.

For what it’s worth - I used to literally get notes from my doctor to avoid running the mile in gradeschool.



Another one in a similar boat! My current job is mostly a desk job. Plus I also work night shifts so it can be doubly hard to find the energy to work out [and it’s so tempting to graze on snacks to stay awake…]

I’ve been going for walks at a park near my workplace after my shifts. Plus when I can, I’ll go on hikes because I really enjoy spending time in nature. I second the yoga suggestion as well - great for maintaining flexibility and core strength. Main thing is to make it enjoyable and not a chore.

Also I try to do little things here and there, like taking the stairs instead of the lift in the office - every little bit counts :slight_smile:



I’ve tried so many things over the years. Was into running for a while, went through a phase during which I quite enjoyed lifting (even as someone who has traditionally hated going to the gym). Cycling for sport.

The biggest problem, for me, with this sort of dedicated fitness activity though is that it is single purpose, as it were. It takes up valuable time. There have been periods of my life where this is acceptable, but as I get older, have more responsibilities & interests (work, time with my wife, “activist” activities, music, a child on the way[!]), it’s been a harder pill to swallow.

For me the perfect compromise has been biking to work. I live in Chicago and I live pretty far north, and I work downtown. My roundtrip commute is ~18 miles. I do that 3-4 times a week and watch what I eat and I’m golden. And it feels like time well spent. Sure, I lose a little time reading on the train, but I’m happier to take that time in the evening as it is.

(Yes, I ride in the winter. No, it’s for real not that bad.)

1 Like


I love to go on walks and hikes but I strongly dislike going to the gym and other formal workout routines. I started practicing yoga about a year ago and, while I try to go 4 times a week, I typically only make it to Saturday and Sunday classes. Yoga is the only disciplined routine that has ever appealed to me.

I appreciate that the owners of the studio I go to are strongly versed in yoga philosophy and appreciate that they largely avoid the overly materialistic bent that you find in gyms and many studios.



I miss the days when I could eat a bag of cookies every day and it would just slide right off me! Those are long gone.

I’m fortunate enough to be able to work basic movement into my day, mainly in a short bike commute (not long at all, 2 miles each way) and then having an energetic dog who I walk about 4-5 miles a day. I’m not yet at the stage of life where walking feels like legitimate exercise but it’s something.

I used to make a lot more time for exercise. Ran marathons, multiday long distance cycling events, 2 hours at the pool or the gym a day. When I hit 40 my desire to do that fell off sharply.

I think the key for me, as other folks are saying, is regularity. In my case it’s also going to require a mental shift. I used to motivate myself with achievement and growth - run faster, lift more, swim further. I’m definitely getting to the age where a) this is not how I want to spend my time and b) there’s no way I’m going to be able to do that sort of development without hurting myself. So I need to figure out how to shift to healthy maintenance rather than climbing a mountain.

Speaking of climbing mountains: I spent 5 days hiking in national parks in Utah recently, and some of that was hiking with a lot of climbing. One hike was 4 miles with 2000 ft of height. I did it, but it was much harder than it used to be. I want to use that sort of thing to motivate me: keep myself in good enough shape to be able to have experiences like that.

1 Like


Where did you go? I went to Utah two years ago and think it might the most beautiful place I’ve been. I hiked in Arches, Zion, and Bryce Canyon (my fave).



Zion and Bryce Canyon. I want to go back to Zion for some overnights, and also to Arches.



I’m a big fan of the TRX suspension trainer. I think it is especially well suited to people who are out of shape, spend most of their day sitting at a desk, and are looking for baseline strength and functional mobility. I’ve been using it consistently for the last 3 years and my wife, who works on computer for 9-5, got into it this past summer and has seen improvements in her neck, shoulders, and back. In my opinion it is easier to get started with than bodyweight work, which I found can be awkward until your you get that baseline strength and mobility and rid yourself of your hitches and muscle imbalances.

I’m a fairly holistic person who is not into circuit exercise but for simple bodyweight work a good active warmup like the ‘world’s greatest stretch’ + ‘lizard walks’ into planks, bridges, pushups, lunges, etc will get you somewhere. Keep proper form, always leave some in the tank, and probably cut back on sugar haha.

1 Like


I moved away from the neighborhood my university is in when I started my second year of grad school. Even though I’m only ~2.5 miles from my department, I have to take two buses if I want to take public transit, so I bought a bike.

As I’ve fallen further into the wilds of research, biking to work has been even better for my mental health than for maintaining my corporeal form—most days I can always say that even if I feel like I did nothing else that day, I biked 5 miles, and I can feel that accomplishment physically in a way that I can’t always with research.

Since I’m in Boston usually I’ll wuss out whenever it rains or there’s snow on the ground. @robbbiecloset what is your secret to winter biking??



i’ve not read all deposits within this thread. i thank you for bringing up topics of such importance! mundane as it is, physical health cannot be decoupled from overall mental/emotional/spiritual health (and beyond)… and to try is folly.

i think one of the great challenges of life is to get to know oneself.

part of that is knowing what works for you.

what works for me may not likely work for you (that is one of the biggest (quite applicable) generalizations i can make)). somehow that sounds like a deep political statement to me currently.

i love running (5k is my usual distance) a few times a week. i love yoga (i’m lucky if i do at all in a given week)

hiking and biking are also local favorites but i count them as adventure excursions so not an exactly regular thing.

a daily walk gets some steps. i try to do 10k steps a day.

i’m lucky to have an incredibly active on my feet job.

so… running is my chosen exercise. if i can run 20k in a week comfortably then i consider myself fit. and i usually feel better sleep better work better eat better. it makes a world of difference.

it really helps for accountability to have a partner of someone pleasantly encouraging you by their actions and words. so please help your fellow animals (humans included) to use their corporeal form as it it will waste away if you do not. AND YOU DON’T WANT THAT QUITE YET.

and in the winter i “grow my fats” :drooling_face:



Not that you asked me, but for me the secret to winter biking is face/head covering, riding in the tire track of the car in front of you, and a bit of luck :slight_smile:



I’m not @robbbiecloset but I am a year round cyclist (and bike mechanic, for that matter)!

biggest factors for me:

  1. Layers, rather than single heavy/thick clothing items. Merino wool is my preference for anything directly contacting skin, but I have some synthetic and cotton long underwear, too. For me, if I am not a little chilly when I step out of the door to ride to work, I am overdressed and will be removing something within minutes. Layers are nice in this case, too!

  2. Studded tires. I used to commute with regular tires, but got sick of slipping/falling. I don’t think I really have slid out since getting studs, and I’m on my fifth season with the same tires since they don’t wear too quick if you only run them in the winter.

  3. Just committing to it! This likely applies to everything in this thread, but just deciding to do it even if only above 20*F or only once a week or whatever is the biggest hurdle. I’ll still take the train if it is really crazy out, but ride way more often than not.



A desk job, and somewhere between 12-20hrs of commute a week does mean I need to pay attention to staying in reasonable shape. Given time I’d much prefer to be out hiking or caving. The mental benefits to me of spending time in those activities are so obvious to my spouse that she ensures they form part of our vacation time. We spend a lovely two weeks hiking and climbing via ferrata in the Dolomites this summer.

However, normal life means I can’t do that other than at the weekend. I don’t much like running, but it’s an efficient form of exercise, so I’ve started trying to run 5-7km at lunchtime a couple of days a week. I supplement that with some gym time, or a short workout at home (the 7 Minutes iOS app repeated three times!), once or twice a week. Failing all of that I try to get out for even a short walk and some fresh air at lunchtime; something even vaguely active being better than nothing. I used to do pilates and yoga but my instructor is taking a break at the moment.



I enjoy swimming. Can get a in a decent 1K with apres sauna once a week. Then can fit in 500m when jnr is at swimming lesson.

I also really like kettle bell flows and bodyweight movement based stuff.

Running has basically killed my legs. Have had hellish problems with Achilles, knee and (not recently hip).



I work for a university, so I enjoy the benefit of having the privilege of paying to use their facilities (it is marginally less expensive than other nearby gyms). It’s rather close to my office, which makes it easier to convince myself to stop by on the way home and wrench out a half hour on the elliptical three days a week.

My commute is a 30-35 minutes walk. At my most inactive, I get at least an hour of walking into my daily routine. Working light exercise into something I am already doing has probably been most effective / easiest to maintain.



Squash. Lot’s of squash. A LOT of squash. Joined the ladder at my local Y. Addicted. Black ball in the game cube!

1 Like