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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 leads 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 EnterpriseEfficiency.com, a UBM ... View Full Bio

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KennethS926
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KennethS926,
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9/4/2014 | 9:31:37 AM
Moving tip
Stepping away from your desk can be hard to remember if you're arms deep in debugging, or working on a report for the CEO. I set up a timer on my desktop using an online timer to go off every 20 minutes. That way I can give my eyeballs a break from the screen and also get up and walk around the office for a few minutes to stretch my muscles and my mind. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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9/4/2014 | 10:48:56 AM
Re: Moving tip
Kenneth, 

Super fantastic tip. :) That keeps you not only moving your muscles and eyeballs in a short healthy break but also keeps you efficient for longer time during your workday as your mind gets relaxed, then it gets less tired. 

Before, I used to bring the teapot to my desk. Then, I started to leave it in the kitchen to force myself to stand up and go to refill my cup. 

At some point, too, I started collecting apps similar to the one you have. All apps to take little breaks, which many times you don't do, otherwise. 

There are some five-minute exercise apps that I also use as mini-breaks. I have downloaded them from the AppStore and they are great. :D I have a 15-minute yoga routine for a longer break, and a meditation app for a 5 or 10 minute meditation break. All in all, I can get a 40 minute exercise routine at the end without moving far from my desk and taking only short breaks. :) 

There are some exercises designed for people who work in an office. They can be done without moving from your desk. 

-Susan

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2014 | 1:49:49 PM
Re: Moving tip
@SusanF: LIke you, I relocated my coffee to the kitchen so I'm required to stand each time I need a fresh cup. I also make sure to get up and sit down without using my arms, which sounds silly but does really make a difference. i'm also a big fan of the stretches and other brief excercise routines one can do, even in an office. They help get oxygen and blood moving and end up helping me better concentrate. If that's not enough motivation, my research for this article turned up a scary factoid: 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.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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9/4/2014 | 2:03:42 PM
Re: Moving tip
Working from home, I too have the luxury of being mobile around the house, which can come in handy at times -- such as when I wrenched my back, and had to recline on an ice pack for most of the day! Saved a sick day! Can't say I've stood at the kitchen counter, although I guess it is about the correct height for 15 minutes or so of standing. I prefer the option of exercising before or after work. I typically can't sit still for more than an hour anyway and usually have to stand up and stretch, no matter what. Refreshes both body and mind!
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2014 | 3:16:00 PM
Re: Moving tip
@Alison: I used to try to rein in my natural restlessness, but now I indulge it by standing up and moving as often as I can. Especially on phone calls, those are a perfect time for me to stand up and walk around. another theory is that everyone should take a break at 2 p.m. and go outside for a 20 minute walk. I'm not sure why the researchers found 2pm to be the magic time, but I've tried to follow the advice or at least force myself to take a lunch break where I spend a bit of time walking outdoors. 
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
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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.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
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 
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. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
9/8/2014 | 5:17:25 AM
Re: Moving tip
Brian, 

Thanks. Very interesting. I wonder how all that works in darker parts of the world, like Finland in winter, where at 3pm there is no more natural light for several months. I suppose the body just adapts to the environment. 

There are some lamps they sell for winter. I never paid attention to them. Maybe I should, as per what you have said. 

"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." 

I like that idea, too. :) 

-Susan
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/8/2014 | 6:19:18 PM
Re: Moving tip
@SusanF: I encourage you to try the full-spectrum lamps during the dark days. In fact, all the time. They do make a tremendous difference both on eye strain and on energy level. As I mentioned to Brian, I've had one since 2006 and it was especially useful when I worked in an office that allowed no natural light.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
9/8/2014 | 9:28:30 PM
Re: Moving tip
Wow, I really like the Facebook campus food perks. It would be great if jobs gave memberships for free. I know some organizations create leagues and play sports against each other. I remember one of the gyms was offering a discount for teachers, which was an incentive. One thing I do to stay active while working, is to go for a walk during my lunch break.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
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9/8/2014 | 9:33:52 PM
Re: Moving tip
@Susan, The full spectrum lamp does sound like a good idea. I think that light can really energize us and keep us alert. I usually use the sunlight from the window and sometimes turn off the lights. I do this mainly because the lights trigger my headaches to go from bad to worse. I have a friend who works in a tiny office without windows. She doesn't use the light on the ceiling, but has a nice lamp on in her room. It is rather dark in her office, but her office actually has a soothing and relaxing vibe. Unfortunately, it probably puts a strain on her eyes.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/9/2014 | 1:38:14 PM
Re: Moving tip
@Angelfuego--You're wise to opt for natural daylight when you can. I mostly work from home, but when I go into the office now it's one of those open floor plans with no closed offices so you can see outside from just about anywhere you sit. That's nice, but the overhead lighting is this glaring florescent thing that ends up giving me a headace by about 3pm.

I can see why your friend would opt for softer lighting in her office, though I wonder how that impacts her circadian ryhthms...there's nothing like natural light.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/9/2014 | 1:35:27 PM
Re: Moving tip
@Angelfuego: If I had the Facebook campus food perks at my disposal, I'd be in big trouble! :)

I've only ever worked at one company that had an on-site gym and showers so you could work out during your lunchbreak or after hours. I have to be honest, the thought of sweating alongside my colleagues caused me to avoid that gym and get my own membership at a nearby, anonymous location.

I like your idea of a lunchtime walk--I think getting outside can help not only with physical health but also to help us clear our minds so we can concentrate better when we return. Do you find that's the case after your walks?
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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9/9/2014 | 1:47:36 AM
Re: Moving tip
Susan_N, 

"I encourage you to try the full-spectrum lamps during the dark days. In fact, all the time. They do make a tremendous difference both on eye strain and on energy level."

Yes, yes. I'll go and explore full-spectrum lamps. :) I would love anything that could help with eye-strain and increasing energy level. During the pick winter season you get daylight from 9 to 3pm. The long night extends for months. :D I am not complaining. Just stating a fact that no one can change, but adapt. This compensates with almost 24 hours of daylight in summer. :D

The long nights are pretty as well because everywhere --places and streets-- are full of extra lights and lots of candles, which give everything a super warm feeling. :) It's nice. There is a light festival as well. And then you have your hot chocolate with a tea cake, whilst it's snowing pretty outside.

Pretty. But I will try to get myself a full-spectrum lamp. How nice that you move your lamp around with you. :D 

-Susan_F
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
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9/8/2014 | 9:43:01 PM
Re: Moving tip
@SusanF, great point about seasonal changes that effect the duration of natural daylight. I think, the short-term effect of jet lag that some individuals experience is a good thing that the earth's tilt has created, as it has enabled our circadian rhythm to be bit more flexible in the long term. I have heard of a few qualitative studies conducted by NASA and airline firms on their crew, if I recall correctly, professionals that work in non-24-hour systems develop polyphasic sleep and/or 36 hours cycles.

It will be great to have some quantitative data on the same, I guess, wearable devices that measure sleep patterns will take this area of research into a whole new level.  
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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9/9/2014 | 2:45:16 AM
Re: Moving tip
Brian, 

"I have heard of a few qualitative studies conducted by NASA and airline firms on their crew, if I recall correctly, professionals that work in non-24-hour systems develop polyphasic sleep and/or 36 hours cycles."

Very interesting. I think I will do a little more research about this. 

I am pretty sure there has been data collected from those studies and there are some good results that maybe NASA has there somewhere. This can be useful for the general audience as well, not only for astronauts and airline crew. 

Wearable devices and wearable clothing can bring something interesting to measure sleep patterns and with that find solutions for some sleeping disorders, too. 

-SusanF
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
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9/9/2014 | 8:41:01 PM
Re: Moving tip
@SusanF, you are right, the general audience will find this information extremely useful. There are many things that an average user brings into their lives that might disrupt their sleep patterns, for instance, a university assignment might be important and interesting enough to push sleep timings one or two hours ahead. The techniques that NASA recommends to regulate sleep patterns would be great information.

Please, do share your finding with us as it would be great to learn more about this topic.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/8/2014 | 6:16:58 PM
Re: Moving tip
@Brian_Dean: That lamp idea is an excellent one. I could use one of those for sure. I have a full-spectrum natural light lamp that I've used in all my offices since 2006. I find it makes a tremendous difference, especially when I was working in offices that had no natural light. Now, I work from home and my desk is positioned beside a window, which helps tremendously.

There's so much that designers of office space should consider -- but don't -- when it comes to lighting and our health.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
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9/8/2014 | 10:28:52 PM
Re: Moving tip
@SusanN, excellent point about designers and architects. I guess, one problem with buildings is that they have a long life, depreciating a building in a 30-year cycle is quite common and the pace of valuable information travels fast. As users again information about the health, power efficiency and productivity benefits that a building can create, designers and architects will have to focus on both the structural strength of a building as well as providing those other benefits. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/9/2014 | 2:04:47 PM
Re: Moving tip
@Brian_Dean: You're right, especially in older ciities like New York or pretty much anyplace in Europe. Actually, sometimes the oldest buildings -- the ones created before air conditioning and heating were ubiquitous -- are the best designed for getting back to natural  light and air flow. Of course, many of these have been "converted" over the years to more modern designs, but in most cases those designs still represent a 1960s and 1970s idea of what office space should look like.

How cool would it be to have a building design that could easily be altered to mulitple uses while still maintaining structural stability. Office space by day, entertainment space by night...
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
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9/9/2014 | 9:13:05 PM
Re: Moving tip
@SusanN, that is a good point, datacenters are savings a lot of capital by utilizing nature to their advantage to lower their HVAC costs. With the amount of data that is available on average wind patterns, etc., a designer will be able to provide a similar level of saving and efficiency to an average building.

Lighting with programmable color themes has the potential to convert a static environment into a multipurpose environment, for instance, white, blue and green light could signal to a user that their desk is a work desk, a study desk and/or an entertainment center during different times of the day. The possibilities are great.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/8/2014 | 6:12:14 PM
Re: Moving tip
@Brian_Dean: Thanks for the info about the Circadian rhythms, I did not know that. I generally find myself hitting the mid-afternoon slump at 2-4 pm. The antidote used to be another cup of coffee, but now I take the advice of these experts and step outside for some fresh air and sunshine when it's available.

If I were to consume only the calories required by my daily desk duties, I suspect I would be eating 1 stalk of celery and 1 piece of lettuce per day.

:)
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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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
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: Author
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  
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
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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,
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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

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/8/2014 | 6:14:35 PM
Re: Moving tip
@Pedro: Thanks for bringing up eye health. That's another big topic for those of us staring at screens all day. I use natural tear eye drops and also try to give myself a break from screen time. In fact, it's the main reason I don't own an eReader and prefer to keep on reading paper books and newspapers in my downtime.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/8/2014 | 6:07:54 PM
Re: Moving tip
@SusanF: Yup, pretty scary isn't it? needless to say, I got up out of my desk chair immediately after reading that!

Thanks for all the other tips--I agree with you that yoga is something that can be practised in short moments anywhere you are, and it's also one of the best things to learn if you travel frequently, since most hotel rooms -- even the tiny ones in NYC -- give enough room for you to do some yoga stretches.

 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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9/9/2014 | 1:24:48 AM
Re: Moving tip
SusanN, 

You're welcome. :) Yes, one of the beauties of yoga is that it can be practised anytime and anyplace. It doesn't require any special equipment and even a few minutes per day are enough to build in your general practice providing you of benefits in your mind-body-spirit. 

Some people may think that a few minutes will not do anything. Yet, if you add a small drop of a blue colored liquid into a big bowl of water you will not notice the difference after the first, second, or third drop. But after many daily drops added your water will turn blue. That is how Yoga works. :) The same with meditation. I think it's a good way of developing patience as well. 

Well, if you travel frequently and want to keep up with your practice, the best is to get an app, or two for your devices, the ones you always travel with. Yes, any small space in a hotel room, or the office is enough for a short practice. :) It keeps you healthy in your business trips without too much effort. 

-Susan
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2014 | 1:37:27 PM
Re: Moving tip
@KennethS926: That's an excellent tip, thanks for sharing it. In researching this article, I found that experts recommend that for every 45 minuts you spend sitting, it's wise to spend 15 minutes standing within the same hour. As you say, when engrossed in a project that's pretty tough to do. and setting my phone alamr is too easy to ignore. I'm going to get myself a nice loud buzzing timer and try your trick out. Stay tuned!
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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9/4/2014 | 10:38:21 AM
Standing Desks
I don't have one -- and really, really don't want one -- but several friends swear by their standing desks. In most cases, they have both a regular desk (with chair) and a standing desk. Usually, they began by alternating between the two, and now spend most of their workday at the standing desk. One friend and former colleague, who lost a lot of weight, much prefers the standing desk and, I believe, no longer uses his traditional desk at all.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2014 | 1:46:27 PM
Re: Standing Desks
@Alison: I have experimented with this idea when working in my home office. I'll often  move from my traditional desk to a kitchen counter which is just about the right height for me to stand and work at. I've found, as Chris Murphy noted in his review, that working while standing is fine if I'm doing things like answering emails or other tasks that require short bursts of focus. I have yet to be able to do anything that requires concentration, like writing an article or analyzing data. Not sure what the connection is between sitting and thinking, other than a possible joke about the true location of my brain...
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
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9/4/2014 | 12:34:14 PM
Re: Getting back to the real world
I appreciate the tone of your comment, and its notion that corporations are sidestepping responsibility in this regard. I'd add that this sort of problem isn't unique to IT jobs, though I concur that they are, by virtue of being so sedentary and sometimes subject to such long hours, a prime example.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2014 | 3:20:11 PM
Re: Getting back to the real world
@Michael: I find the same can be said for writing or any job that requires a period of sustained concentration. In general, I've found most corporations these days to be very responsive to concerns about ergonomics and encouraging to requests for better chairs, desks or other props. one company I worked for actually hired a professional in ergonomics to help us all adjust our workstations and get us whatever props we needed to make sure we were seated in the best possible way. Of course, i've been lucky enough to spend my career in the white collar/knowledge industry. I suspect factory workers in the garment industry, for example, would be envious of the working arrangements that the average IT or any general knowledge worker will have.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
9/4/2014 | 3:35:53 PM
Re: Getting back to the real world
In addition to keeping yourself ergonomically sound, anyone who works at a desk, in IT or other, should get regular massage. Even if you your desk set-up is ergonomically perfect, you're going to have shoulder and neck strain. I've been going to monthly massage for two years now and it's made a world of difference. I don't get the headaches and neck strains I used to get. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2014 | 3:38:27 PM
Re: Getting back to the real world
@Shane: Excellent advice. I also see a chriopractor regularly for the same reason. and many corporate health plans now cover chiropractic services. I know many people who also make regular visits for accupuncture treatments. If we don't take care of ourselves, who will? :)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2014 | 5:34:12 PM
Re: Getting back to the real world
@Shane- Sounds nice. Clearly you own a spa on the side. :)

Seriously though, I got a massage while away on a weekend wedding trip and I was amazed at how I literally felt taller. I had been hunched over the keyboard for so long I had started to turn into a question mark. It is an excellent idea.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
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9/4/2014 | 1:45:03 PM
30 Minutes of Cardio per day
That's the bottom line. Join a gym, get on a cario machine, and sweat lightly for 30 minutes a few times a week. Jogging also works, and swimming is better still. Don't try to do more at first, because then it becomes an ordeal and you'll find an excuse to avoid it. That's it. Plain and simple. After a few months, at your next physical, your yearly blood tests will improve so much that your doc will think that your results got mixed up with someone else's.

I once worked at a location that had a gym downstairs. I did my cardio, took a shower, had a quick bagel and coffee and tore throught the rest of the day.

Think you don't have time? During WWII, the main Soviet general, Zhukov, didn't have time to sleep, so he a had a daily regimen of jogging 1 Kilometer. I don't care who you are - your boss isn't tougher than Stalin and your problem isn't worse than Hitler.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2014 | 2:01:13 PM
Re: 30 Minutes of Cardio per day
@Gary_EL: You are correct that regular daily cardio is essential to good health. In doing the research for this article, I learned that the current school of thought is that those 30 minute workouts at the end of the day aren't enough to ameliorate the damage of sitting at a desk all day. Now, experts are advising that in addition to our regular daily workout, we also make sure to keep ourselves moving in short bits throughout the day in order to keep our muscles active and promote good health.

I have seen firsthand the value of increased excercise: my husband had high cholesterol and high blood pressure and he dramatically increased his physical activity -- 2 hour hikes per day. A year later he reuqires no medication and his cholesterol and blood pressure are back to normal.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
9/4/2014 | 3:20:07 PM
Re: 30 Minutes of Cardio per day
I'm with you @Gary_EL. There's no way around exercise. You gotta do it. Sure, remembering to get up from your desk periodically and walk around is important. But to maintain good health and keep the weight down, you also have to do some rigorous work, and that applies even more so to those who sit all day. If you have the knees for it, running is the most efficient -- you're done in 30 minutes and you've burned 500 calories!
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2014 | 3:28:30 PM
Re: 30 Minutes of Cardio per day
@Shane: The recent research shows that a combination of continual movement throughout the day plus bouts of intense excercise is the best formula for maintaining a healthy weight and also keeping your muscles and joints healthy and limber.

I personally also add yoga and other mindfulness practice into the mix to help reduce stress, although some long distance runners I know say that they get the same stress-reducing benefits from that type of excercise. Running is not my thing. I prefer long hikes in nature to relax and get excercise.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
9/4/2014 | 3:43:55 PM
Re: 30 Minutes of Cardio per day
Whatever works @Susan as long as it's consistent. Can't go wrong with your combo of hiking/yoga/meditation.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
9/4/2014 | 2:00:10 PM
Re: Getting back to the real world
It is ironic that more employers are now passing along a greater share of health insurance costs and either rewarding employers for acting healthy (as in going to the gym, not smoking, etc.) or penalizing them for unhealthy habits (smoking, not exercising). I've seen some interesting articles on office design: Architects place stairs in very central locations to encourage employees to take the stairs, rather than try to hunt down the hard-to-find elevators, for example. 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
9/4/2014 | 3:53:22 PM
Adjustable desk
I just ordered an adjustable desk and am excited, but it's somewhat dismaying to read that standing all day burns only an extra 500 calories. I was counting on more, @Susan!
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. :)
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.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/8/2014 | 6:04:14 PM
Re: Adjustable desk
@David: That may sound like hell to some people, but it makes a lot more sense to me than jogging does. It's all a matter of personal preference and perhaps physiology. While I generally enjoy endurance sports (was able to do 65-mile bike rides when I was healthy) a bout with illness in recent years has caused me to turn to more moderate excercise. A runner I shall never be. The key is to find a way to incorporate movement into your life every day in a way that works best for you at your health and wellness level.

With that in mind, in addition to hiking and yoga, I gave up driving back in February which forces me to walk for groceries and all my other errands and to take public transportation. Fortunately, I live in an area where it's possible to do so.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/8/2014 | 6:09:30 PM
Re: Adjustable desk
@Lorna: Sorry about that. I suppose you could try jogging at your desk instead. Did you get the desk yet? Please do tell us all about how you like it once it's set up.
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