6 Ways To Lose The Tech 20 - InformationWeek

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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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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...
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,
User Rank: Author
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
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
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
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
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
9/8/2014 | 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.
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.
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 | 6:12:14 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.

:)
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