Stationary progress: How to make the most of your time on indoor exercise equipment

CareerBuilder

For many of today's employees, working while working out has become a daily norm, a chance to grab a little exercise while checking off a few tasks for work. Numerous employees across the country spend a set amount of time on the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike in the morning, while on their lunch break or at the end of the workday. And instead of binge-watching '70s sitcoms while burning a few calories, some fitness-minded employees actually do something productive -- no offense, Suzanne Somers and Jimmie Walker -- while they work out.

We checked with a few workday warriors to find out what they did while taking an exercise break. Here's what they had to say:

"I check my email in the morning on the bike. I usually don't respond until I get to my desk at work but at least I know what to expect and I know what I need to pay attention to right away. If it's a simple reply, I'll take care of it right then and there but if it requires a little bit of thought, I'd rather do it while I actually have access to my files and have time to reply in more than one- or two-word answers."

-- Nora Canon, Houston, Texas

"Lately, I've been listening to audiobooks, usually work-related. I don't like to read business books at home because it just feels like a continuation of my workday so I've been listening to a lot of books lately when I work out. If I hear something that I think might be really helpful to me or one of my co-workers, I can always mark it on my phone and get back to it later."

-- Paul Jordan, Erie, Pennsylvania

"Not exactly related to work but I try to call my mom or my dad. I try to work out three days a week so I try to check in with each one of them during at least one of those workouts. I used to call my sister too but she gets really annoyed when I'm on the treadmill, even though I'm just walking. She says she can hear me breathing. It's not exactly like I'm out of breath but for some reason she says it's too big of a distraction. My parents don't care. They're just happy that I call. And it's something I don't have to do while I'm at the office. Once I get home, there are so many things to do with the kids, I don't get the chance."

-- Vera Mueller, Chicago

"I'm in HR and so I feel like I really need to stay on top of the business trends that relate to HR and benefits so I basically use that time to read all the news I can handle, especially as it relates to employment trends. I used to skim headlines but I've learned that a lot of the information I need is sometimes buried in a story because it doesn't really have that much relevance to the subject but it has a lot of relevance to me. HR is changing so much and there are so many innovative things that companies are doing. It really helps to actually read a story all the way through to have an understanding of some of the new approaches that are out there. I use my time on the elliptical to freshen up on the HR playbook."

-- Sarah Addams, Bakersfield, California

"I do whatever I need to do -- check voicemail, check email, look at my schedule, plan out my day. Nothing too intense. It's always great to get to work and hit the ground running without having to deal with all the mundane stuff that drags down your workday."

-- Peter Musgrove, St. Paul, Minnesota

"I'm sure it's annoying to the people around me but I actually talk to myself. I leave myself a really long voicemail -- really two or three voicemails because the time runs out -- that are either reminders of things I need to do that day or thoughts I had about something I'm working on. In some cases, I will have this great idea and since my hands are sweaty, I just leave myself a long message. There is something about physical movement that gets me a little bit more creative so I try to take advantage of it."

-- Micheal Hernandez, Norman, Oklahoma

"I don't do anything. I usually run on the treadmill inside the health club in my building during lunch. I'm at the point in my life where I need to take a break from work to just clear my head. I don't even listen to music anymore. I just run. I feel like I can go back to my desk without all that noise and that helps me have a much more productive afternoon."

-- Jason Spelling, Chicago

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