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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Image courtesty of Visual.ly

Here’s good news, sitting is the new smoking!

You’ve heard these before; 50 is the new 30, Arugula is the new Kale, Skinny jeans are the new little black dress.  But information like we found in this article from the Huffington Post is a little bit scary and not the least bit fun (like 50 being the new 30) ….”Sitting is the New Smoking

Articles like this are enough to strike fear in the hearts of millions of office workers who do their work at a desk.  Our little cubes are often our world.  We spend 8 hours a day at our desk.  Now we are finding out sitting is taking years off our lives.

Being sedentary can lead to all sorts of physical aliments.  Time spent sitting at a desk can increase your risk of having heart disease, colon cancer, muscle degeneration, foggy brain, poor circulation and soft bones.

So what do we do?  Most of us can’t or won’t give up our desks.  We have jobs we love, jobs we need and not every company can retrofit an office.  Here are a few ideas to help get you on your feet more often throughout the day.

Fitness trackers:

They can be as simple as a clip-on pedometer to count steps, to a stylish wrist band that logs every move you make, and how you sleep.

Fitbit, Misfit, Garmin, and jawbone are just a few of the trackers you can get.

I wore a device for a year and learned a lot about my “movement”.  I found that I was much more likely to take some extra steps if I checked in on my device to see where I was at for the day. The tracker I wore also told me my sleep patterns.  Along with not getting enough exercise, poor sleep also adds to the problem.  I found that there were quite a few nights that I woke up and didn’t settle back down into a good deep sleep.

No wonder I am tired a lot of the time!  My fitness tracker helped me understand my sleep patterns and I ended up getting better sleep in the long run.

Stand up Desks: 

Just turn on any morning show, and there seems to be another informative segment about standing while we work.  Personally, I would love to have a standing desk, but it is not for everyone!  As you can see in the article below, there are all sorts of reasons to and not to have a standing desk.  Matt from The desk jockey also makes some very good points to have a standing desk.  He makes a great pitch for the ultimate desk, the Sit/Stand desk.  (--I want one!--)

Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you how sitting has influenced how I do things.  When I get up to go to the copier, I try to make it count in terms of “movement”.  I get up and out of my chair as often as possible.  Instead of bending over to put a file in the bottom drawer, I squat down and then come back up to standing.  (that counts as exercise, right?!) I run mail out to the mailbox, rather than put it in the tray at the front desk.  I reach further for the copy paper.  I take every opportunity to stretch.  Whether it’s at my desk, or waiting at the copier, I make sure I try and ease the kinks out of my muscles.  And most of all, I keep moving, moving, moving.  Atrophy is the enemy!

I find it’s the same with my eyes.  The older I get, the more strain I put on my vision.  Eight hours a day, using a computer has enabled me to become a connoisseur of hip reading glasses.  (A girl has to look good!)   Add a smart phone to the mix and I am in a blur, literally.  Thank goodness my smart phone has an app that reminds me to look up and away from my computer every 20 minutes.

Who knew an office job could be so dangerous!

I’m one of the lucky ones.  My cubicle is my home away from home.  I have a boss that lets me have a workspace that inspires me.  I have photos, music and lots of color to take me through each day.  Now if I can just talk him into that Sit/Stand desk, it might be a perfect world!

Blog Written By: Robin Vankleek


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Posted by HSA Admin at 5/7/2015 6:07:00 PM
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