IT Life
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9/4/2014
08:06 AM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
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6 Ways To Lose The Tech 20

Succumbed to the freshman 15's sequel? It's time to drop the Red Bull and Doritos and get a move on.
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(Image: SRxA's Word on Health)
(Image: SRxA's Word on Health)

Can working in IT make you fat? If the majority of your workday is spent in a chair, then it's entirely possible.

In fact, according to an article in Men's Health, "Sentenced to the Chair," a worker who stands all day (think store clerks) burns about 1,500 calories while on the job, while a person sitting behind a desk expends about 1,000 calories.

After only eight months of starting sedentary work, a person will gain an average of 16 pounds, according to the Men's Health article, citing research from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

And that's the average office worker in the average cube farm.

If you're lucky enough to work at one of Silicon Valley's celebrated corporate campuses, you're tempted by 24x7 access to all the food you can eat, for free or at significantly reduced prices. For example, the chefs employed by Google cook nearly 2 million pounds of meat per year, according to Thrillist, which highlights the "13 Companies With the Best Food Perks." At the Facebook campus, you score three free meals a day, five days a week, and your dining options on the main campus include two cafes, a BBQ shack, a burger bar, a pizzeria, a taqueria, a sweet shop... oh, and the obligatory salad cafe.

If that weren't enough, stress is known to cause weight gain. Anyone working in IT or tech claiming to not be stressed out is likely either lying or crazy.

Meanwhile, a growing body of research is showing that the negative effects of sitting all day at work can't simply be ameliorated by an evening gym workout. If you're spending eight hours or more sitting at a desk, your body is going through all manner of physiological changes that not only increase the chances of weight gain, but could actually take years off your life.

So what's a desk-bound IT professional to do? Here are six tips to help you beat the Tech 20. Once you've scrolled through the slides, drop by the comments section, and tell us which methods you think will work best for you. While you're at it, give us your own tips and tricks for keeping the forces of gravity at bay.

Susan Nunziata works closely with the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community. Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for ... View Full Bio

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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
9/8/2014 | 4:28:56 AM
Taking breaks
Pedro, 

You're welcome. :) You need to take a break after 45 minutes of work, that is the ideal. After 45 minutes the attention and focus start declining and you need to put more effort into your work. If you take a break after 45 min, you get your attention and focus back and can work more efficiently during the next 45 min. this goes to your eyes, too. 

As I said, I forced my eyes to the point that the pain was intolerable when having my eyes open. :( Really. So, after it happened several times I did some research, got some apps, and made myself more conscious about the time I was spending forcing my eyes to work when they were tired and already irritated. 

There are some exercises for the eyes, too. And yoga for the eyes. :D I have a friend who is a yoga teacher and he says the yoga for the eyes can improve your sight. :) 

Here are some of the apps I have, you have to Google them because we can't post links anymore (thanks to spammers attacking the site), but they give you an idea of what is available and then you can find your favorites and the ones that work best for you:

*BeHealthy

*Caffeine

*CoffeeBreak

*Focus Bar

*Time Out Free

*Simply Being: After choosing one of the above, this app gives you short guided mediations that you do with your eyes closed sitting at your desk. It's great for resting both your eyes and mind in just a few minutes. Use your earphones. I find this app very effective and helpful. 

Let me know if you find any of those useful for you. :) 

-Susan

 
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
9/7/2014 | 5:35:33 PM
Re: Moving tip
@Susan, good point, during 2pm to 4pm natural light is at a color temperature of 5,000k. This signals to our body that it is time to concentrate -- raising the body's temperature to maximum which is also good for exercise. From 4pm to sunset, natural light starts to drop from 5,000k to 3,000k, signaling to our bodies that it is time to sleep.

I guess, smart lighting with adjustable color temperature will make anytime of the day a good time to exercise. I like the idea of a smart light over my desk to shift the color temperature to 5,000k, fostering concentration this should allow a project to be completed quickly. 
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
9/7/2014 | 12:01:59 PM
Re: Moving tip
@ susan. Thank you for the tip, I will definatelly look into them. I try to take breaks as well.  After my doctor suggestion, I try to take 10 minute break after an hour or 2 of work.  What I like to do as well, after a long day of working on the computer.  I try to step away from the computer.   I try to spend time reading ( on an actual book) or work out.  These activities really help me prepare for my long hours on the computer during the day.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
9/7/2014 | 3:08:54 AM
Re: Moving tip
Brian, 

"I think the 2pm timeframe has something to do with the circadian rhythm, between 2pm and 4pm is the time that the circadian rhythm makes the body the most active."

How intersting. I didn't know that. I read somewhere that it's advising to not exercise after 4pm, and try to do it before that time, instead. It was related to something about improving sleeping, so maybe it doesn't apply to those who don't have sleeping problems.

The early morning seems to be the best time for exercising so you get energized for the rest of the day. :) 

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
9/7/2014 | 3:02:25 AM
Re: Moving tip
Pedro, 

"My doctor has told me that I need to take breaks because my eyes get tired."

Too many hours in front of the screen will result in eye-strain. If you don't listen to your eyes immediately they will start to hurt terribly. When your eyes start getting tired immedately take breaks. There are free apps that you can download and will alert you when you need to take a break.

Some darken your screen to force you take the break. I found these little apps very helpful. Now I regularly take breaks and I also take some time completely off the computer to help my eyes stay in a good condtion. When I had eye-strain, sometimes it has been so bad that I had to stop working for a few days. It was impossible to read anything without pain. :( I had to completely rest my eyes.

-Susan  
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
9/6/2014 | 6:03:39 PM
Re: Moving tip
@Susan, the moving advice is great. I think the 2pm timeframe has something to do with the circadian rhythm, between 2pm and 4pm is the time that the circadian rhythm makes the body the most active. This would allow for the maximum amount of calories burnt in the shortest timeframe.

Another advice that I find good is data, if an individual has a rough estimate of the amount of calories in the foods that they normally consume, and calories consumed by their daily duties. Then, they can keep the weight to the desired level. A pound of weight can be added or subtracted by consuming or not consuming 3,500 calories.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
9/5/2014 | 10:24:00 AM
Re: Moving tip
@ susan. that is great information.  For me, I found lots videos in youtube on 10 to 15 workout.  I have also found videos on sitting exercises very helpful.  Since I live in a house; working on the garden or cleaning makes for a fun and productive excersise.  My doctor has told me that I need to take breaks because my eyes get tired.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
9/5/2014 | 1:57:47 AM
Re: Moving tip
SusanN, 

"If one spends too much time sitting, the gluteus maximus muscles can actually forget how to engage! yes, muscles have memory and apparently some muscles can develop alzheimer's! EEEK."

How horrible. :( I didn't know that.

This may motivate me to do double Daily Butt Workout (that's the name of the app) today. The other apps of the series include Daily Leg, Daily Arm, and Daily Ab. You can choose between a 5, 7, or 10 minutes routine. I find it useful to get my little gym right on my desktop. :D You basically take your gym with you when you travel with your laptop, or iPdad as well. I also have several Yoga apps: Pocket Yoga, All-in Yoga, and my recent discovery: YogaStudioApp, which is a great yoga app for iPhone and iPad. There is a 15-minute free class you can try on the Website.

Even having a busy day 15 minutes of daily yoga is enough. For meditation, Simply Being gives me 5 to 20 minutes of meditation breaks; it efficient in putting my mind into resting mode and bringing it back refreshed. For doing all that, you don't even need to be dressed with your sporty clothes. As I do it as part of my workday I am doing it in my dresses, too. :)    

All that during the day in little breaks and walks and there is no excuse for not exercising in the office. :) Oh, and there are plenty of neck, shoulder, and upper back exercises for which you don't even need to stand up. :D 

-Susan
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2014 | 5:39:58 PM
Re: Adjustable desk
@Susan- As I've bored you with in real life, I've spent the last two months working out regularly. i found the secret for me to sticking with it is finding the right program. I hate to jog. Can't stand it. It is long and painful and boring. I learned that sprinting really boosts your metabolism and prepares you to play stop and go sports like softball (which I play.) So I started doing a routine where I do a 40 yard wind sprint followed by an 80 yard walk. i do this for three miles. It takes roughly the same amount of time as a 3 mile jog.

Granted, I tell people about this and some people think it sounds like hell. But for me, it is fun. Now I can stick with my routine. If standing desk don't work for you, try didgeball or jumping jacks or whatever.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2014 | 5:35:34 PM
Re: Adjustable desk
@Lorna- 500 calories per day is 3500 calories which is exactly what you need to lose a pound. That sounds actually pretty good to me. If i lost a poiund per week, I'd look good by 2025. :)
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