If you feel tied to your job 24/7, you aren’t alone. We live in a modern world that is filled with conveniences that help us live longer and richer, but sometimes those advancements also keep us locked in place. We aren’t as active as we once were. Our lives are sedentary because many jobs are office-based, with little movement, except at a keyboard or copy machine. It’s no wonder that obesity and associated illnesses have spiked. It’s time to learn ways to get moving, not just at the gym or pool but every chance you get.
A few months ago, Alex Fogg was on the go, moving all the time. “I was a college student so I was walking a lot of miles every day.” Now, the 20-something professional is a receptionist at a plastic surgery center in Dallas, where she spends the bulk of her work day, sitting and answering the phone. She’s worried the job could impact her posture and her weight.
“I can already tell that my back is starting to hunch over, so I always pull my shoulders back. I do worry about every calorie I eat because I sit so much.”
It’s the same problem for millions of Americans with sedentary jobs, that require little in the way of get up and go. Those white collar workers are at risk of developing love handles or a sprawling behind. Obesity contributes to other illnesses like heart disease or type II diabetes. The best way to avoid problems is to get moving and you can do that whether or not you have a gym or a pool at the office. There are ways to work your muscles, even when you are on the clock.
Use Your Body Weight
It starts with making the decision to move every time you can, even while you are at work. You have to learn to look for ways to get a little extra workout while you are on the job. Experts say you can use your own body weight to squeeze in a workout. “A simple solution is to use your own body weight when you have some free time,” according to Dr. Robert Grant who is a board certified plastic surgeon in New York City. Dr. Grant says that heavy-duty exercises like lunges and squats that use the large muscle groups are similar to a cardiovascular workout. Grant also advises office workers to use “inversion therapy” to melt away stress and anxiety. Grant uses the technique. He says to place the limbs against the wall and higher than the torso. The method will help shake off tension and improve muscle tone. It can even be done in full business attire.
Don’t Call or Text — Walk
It can be difficult to settle into a new routine, but changing even one habit will bump up your activity scale. You can try visiting a college or co-worker’s desk or cubby, instead of sending an email, text or calling. Experts say this is a great way to get in a small walk and tone your leg muscles. The social interaction is good too. Look for ways to actually visit your office mates in person.
“Generally, you can find reasons you need to get up and go to the copier or see a college. Just make that extra loop around,” Dr. Bruce Van Natta says. Van Natta is a board-certified plastic surgeon who practices in Indianapolis. Dr. Van Natta says you can do everything from bringing a co-worker coffee to signing up for the company’s basketball team. Look for additional ways to improve the amount of time you spend walking around the office each day. The easiest way to bump up your output is to take the stairs.
“Of course, we all should do that. Take the stairs, even if it is 25 floors. That will get your heart rate up and make you sharper too.”
Alex has started a whole, new plan in her desk duties. She stretches every moment she gets and it is helping. She doesn’t feel as tired or stiff as she used to after a long day. She now stretches at her desk all the time. Alex says she is a better employee now and healthier too. If she needs to take a walk break, she takes one.
“I just get up and walk, if I need to.”