Secretarial The Temp: Filing for a perfect body

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The Independent Culture
THE GOVERNMENT is concerned about obesity in the population and our general level of unfitness. This is, of course, directly related to the amount of television we each of us consume in a week, but, as the entire advertising industry depends on television and people watching it, and the entire Government depends on the advertising industry, it has been deemed appropriate to refer to this factor as "increasingly sedentary lifestyles".

Thus our office-bound lives are being blamed for our ills and, unless we can turn things round, we are in increasing danger of being like the Chinese, forced to take part in compulsory dawn robotics in paved-over open spaces.

But wait! Before you waste hundreds of pounds on membership of a gym that you will attend five times in the first week, then pull something, have to spend three weeks recuperating and somehow never find the time to go again, look at the exercise opportunities about you! While it's possible to pass an entire day at work without doing more than walk to and from the lift, your office can be your own home gym opportunity. For your health and that of the nation, we present the Temporary Guide to Office Gymnastics:

File, but inefficiently. Place all papers on the floor, close drawers after each paper has found its home. And bend and lift! And bend and lift!

Remember that it is essential to drink at least two litres of water a day. By doing so with only the help of tiny paper cones, you can add almost a quarter of a mile to your daily walking schedule simply going from desk to water cooler.

Shouting at underlings is excellent aerobic exercise.

Run everywhere. This has the added advantage of making you look important.

Do your own photocopying. Clearing paper jams is terrific for thigh and bum muscles; swearing forcibly every time a light comes on exercises lung-power; when things are going right, you can practise the ancient t'ai-chi exercise of Standing Still Staring Into Space while Drumming Fingers.

Encourage an office policy of meanness with stationery. Allow the key to the stationery stores to only one person, preferably the one who has to be away from their desk most often. Searching in your own and afterwards your colleagues' bottom drawers for Post-It notes, pencils, compliments slips etc stretches back muscles, thigh muscles and arm muscles and acts as an excellent warm-up for going in search of the stationery supervisor.

Remember: thinking burns calories. If your day-to-day tasks don't require thinking, take it up. You'll be svelte in no time.

Tummy tucks: get under your desk to fiddle with wiring to computer, telephone, fax, modem, lighting, etc. Lie on back, feet flat on the ground, knees in the air. And up!

Institute a smoking ban. Then take up smoking in order to afford yourself the opportunity to take a walk down to the front steps every hour on the hour. This is a particularly effective exercise, as not only does it also allow you to catch up on gossip/ network with your superiors, but it is an ideal opportunity to get a breath of fresh air.

Several hours playing Solitaire/Minesweeper/Tetris on screen each day builds strength in index finger and thumb.

Volunteer to take responsibility for watering the office plants. Walking about the place with a watering-can is excellent low-impact muscle-building.

Have an affair. That time spent locked around each other in cramped environments such as the stationery cupboard will help you maintain flexibility in your joints.

Pen-chewing builds a sturdy jaw.

Try this change of position every 10 minutes: feet-on-desk, feet-off- desk; if performed with straight legs at all times, this will tighten those tummy muscles and give you a six-pack like Vulcan in Gladiators.

Swivelling in chairs is good for your balance. If your chair has arms, raise yourself from the seat using them from time to time; relieves aching backs. Exercise calf muscles by walking to your colleague's desk without removing your bum from your seat.

Commute by public transport during rush-hour. Standing up in a moving, confined space for an hour or more at a go is the equivalent of a full week with electrodes strapped to your abs.

If all else fails, neglect to meet your deadlines. You will spend so much time running away from your boss, you'll burn off an extra Mars bar every afternoon.