Cubicle Monkey Fitness
Ever since bullwhips were outlawed in the workplace, it’s been a creative challenge to keep the grunts in shape. But you might be surprised to discover that fitness equipment is not just for the gym or the dark recesses of your basement. There seems to be many an apparatus designed to accommodate the limited space of our cubicle dungeons. A great deal of them are ridiculous, and as such provide me with much canon fodder. Still, you have to give them credit for trying.
Of course, one needs to assess their position on the corporate totem pole before installing a fully functional BowFlex in their 6×6 workspace. For example, if the boss has one, just be sure yours is smaller. Also, when cranking out reps to failure try and keep the screams down, especially if you work in a call-center. Less conspicuous fitness options are thankfully available, as to not draw too much attention to yourself.
Might as well get this one out of the way first. It seems health professionals are inconclusive about the benefits of such devices, but that’s mainly because nobody wants to be the first to get a malpractice suit. It helps to think of doctors as skittish deer. Everyone wants someone else go into the open field first to see if they get shot for exposing themselves.
Ball chairs however, do have a few gotchas. For example, some people choose a stability ball with no holder. That means getting the thing in position before planting your butt. Depending on your level of balance, this can go fine or be hysterical to everyone around you.
Noise is also a factor. Particularly large asses make a “fa-roommph” noise whenever the body makes micro adjustments, leaving those in the adjacent stalls to wish you’d consider a diet less rich in gassy foods. But the subtle mimicry of colon effervescence is nothing compared to the five alarm panic caused by a puncture.
Yes, yes…I know the manufacturers often advertise burst “resistant” products. But one has to do a conscious risk assessment that takes into account the stress placed upon a Chinese made sphere of hollow rubber. An average sized individual with strong bones can probably withstand a tumble here and there. You laugh it off and now you and your co-workers have something to reminisce about at the bar while washing away the work-week with shots of liquid amnesia.
However, large people need to perhaps reconsider, as do those over 60. A sudden drop onto the coffee stained carpet from three feet is going to have visions of the Hindenburg dancing in your head. The hip replacement industry is making strides to be sure, but we’re not quite at Six Million Dollar Man levels of medical technology.
Instead of sitting, ergonomic desks offer the benefit of a standing workstation. New models have the option to adjust height electronically, so the day can be a combination of sitting and standing. This regular adjustment in posture is an excellent way to keep the spine from developing complications resulting from a curled up posture all day. It also means that given the price, there’s a snowballs chance in Hell you’ll ever get one.
If you are the lowly office grunt or intern, then just forget about it. The health of a peasant is of little concern to dark overlords who can easily replace you with a drunk monkey. No, the closest you’ll get to an adjustable desk is when the boss calls you in to put his together. Sorry to say, but now his back will outlast yours due to not being compressed from sitting in a discount chair that lists to one side. If you live under the tyrannical rule of Genghis Khan, maybe forget to put in a bolt or two. Odds are it will eventually crash forwards, crushing the Bigshot’s legs like they were pinned under a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
While a full-sized trainer in your cage would certainly be something to talk about at the water cooler, there are now much more subtle devices that fit under your desk.
Getting the legs moving won’t be a problem. However, falling into a coma due to an overload of depression might. Sitting at your desk, peddling away and yet going nowhere; that metaphor for your entire working career is going to hit like a wrecking ball.
If the desk-elliptical just isn’t high roller enough or you have particular clout with your Human Resources Department, then strip down to your undies and dive right into the ocean of opulence. The full-on Desk Treadmill will insure you never get a moments rest in your 9-5. Yes, you will walk and get nowhere. You will run, and see no change. You will seek, but never find. Got to be up front here, this might seem like a great piece of equipment, but just looking at it makes me want to pound back a bottle of Zoloft.
An office full of these devices would be a sight to see, but I somehow think the smell would be the sense to register first. Even a slow walk all day will generate at least some perspiration so I advise having an office special on body powder to keep the swamp-crotch in check. Also, insure any staff potlucks have no spicy Indian foods. Curry has a way of combining with sweat that can really fill an otherwise professional office with the aromas of a New Delhi food truck.