Take the Stairs: Exercise for Busy People

By Jerrell Cockerham

It can be disheartening to witness people commit sizeable portions of their time to workouts and yield visible results. If only I had the time, you think to yourself, as you head to your lab, meeting, or appointment. However, there are ways to incorporate exercise within a busy Block Plan schedule—you just need to be cognizant of them.

A couple days after I arrived on campus for the Bridge Scholars Program at CC, I pulled up directions to the nearest bike shop, strolled downtown, and bought myself a moderately priced commuter bike. (You can also purchase cheap bikes from the Arc Thrift Store, Craigslist, and outdoor gear exchange shops, such as Mountain Equipment Recyclers and Gearonimo.) And just like that, I had a fun way to get in cardio exercise while simultaneously traveling across campus or exploring the city.

This is just one way to engage in what I call “casual” exercise—being as active as possible despite not having sufficient time or interest to adopt a serious workout regimen. This sort of exercise doesn’t elicit the same deliberation that accompanies the decision to work out at the gym, and it’s a easy way to stay in shape while going about life. It eliminates all the shortcuts that we have unconsciously adopted into our day-to-day activities. For instance, when traveling to and from my room in Slocum, I make an effort to always take the three flights of stairs instead of the elevator. Admittedly, this is not always enjoyable, but it’s an easy spur-of-the-moment choice that works your body a bit more.

Because King Soopers is over a mile away, it can be incredibly tempting to take an Uber or a friend’s car  there and call it a day. But instead, I resolve to take the 20-minute walk. Thus, I get at least 40 minutes of walking in addition to my grocery trip.

Maybe you’re more of a goal-oriented person and you need some way to quantify the exercise you’re getting in. There are tools that can aid this sort of quest. Personally, I prefer to use my Apple Watch, which provides summaries of my fitness information (like how many steps I’ve taken on a given day) in the form of “rings.” Alternatively, you could opt for a Fitbit, which falls between $100-$200. The iPhone Health app and similar apps such as Strava also can record your movement. Even just a pedometer works! You’d be surprised how many steps you can get in a day just by going about your routine and adding slight adjustments.

In an active community like the one at Colorado College, it is easy to become discouraged when a brutal block limits your ability to exercise. Nevertheless, there are plenty of ways to stay active without cutting too much time out of your busy schedule; you just need to be creative.

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