Multi-tasking and My Office Mini-gym

“One-pointed attention” is one of the eight spiritual disciplines that my spiritual practice is based on. The program posits that this single-mindedness helps with meditation, achieving goals, and trains the mind to handle those moments of upset. So, whether you’re eating or talking with someone, give that one act your full attention. In short, no multi-tasking.

This is obviously very difficult, and nowhere is this struggle more evident than at my work station. I’m a legal secretary, so my area is comprised of a computer, desk, and chair. But I’m also an aging runner, so I have to do a lot more stretching and strengthening than I have time for…so what better way to sneak in some of this training than at work? Here’s how I’ve transformed my work area into a mini-gym.

First, and most important, I have a standing desk. I had heard of these before, but the message finally got through after I heard 50-year old ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes say on a podcast that the main reason he never gets injured is because he doesn’t sit and uses a standing desk when he works. Around the same time, I had just suffered my second IT band injury and was prescribed glute strengthening exercises by two physical therapists plus my Pilates instructor. I was also told that since I had a desk job, my glutes had pretty much atrophied, and that sitting all day was detrimental to my strengthening process. This weakness was also contributing to my lower back problems per my Eastern doctor. If you still don’t believe me, read this article, one of many, on how deadly sitting all day is.

I noticed that a few people at our office were getting standing desks, and I put in my request. Luckily, I work at a generous and progressive firm, so I was given the Varidesk, and it is awesome. I transitioned quite easily. My instructor noticed right away that my glute strength had increased even though I had not been to class in a while, and not only am I getting stronger just by standing there, the standing position also allows me to throw in some calf and hamstring stretches. If you’re curious about one, there are several styles at the Varidesk site:

Stand Desk

Despite my love for the standing desk, I do take breaks once in a while. (This Varidesk model has two levers that allow it to move up and down easily.) However, even then, when I put my life in jeopardy and decide to sit for a spell, I sit on this AeroMAT Fitness Ball Chair Deluxe, which is available at several places, including Amazon. My core is engaged, and my back feels sturdy and strong.

Ball Chair

Lastly, I keep this little R8 torture device at my desk, so I can roll out those tight muscles in case I’ve had an especially strenuous morning run. It’s most debilitating on my calf. Who am I kidding, it’s horrible everywhere. And if it’s not excruciatingly painful, it’s ticklish. If you’re crazy like me and think “Wow, I have to get one!” you can buy one here:


While my one-pointed attention practice may be suffering due to the construction of this mini-workout area in my office space, my glutes, back and core have gotten stronger. It’s also possible that my mind is more at ease knowing I’m doing everything I can to stay strong and fit into my late 40s.

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