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Working at a Desk Job and Staying Active

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Old 05-20-2011, 04:01 PM   #1
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Um.. any tips? I've worked at home a lot but will have to return to the office full-time soon so I can't just get up and go to the grocery store in the middle of the day or take a short walk anymore. I work at a computer and do get in regular lifting during the week but I'm just trying to think of ways to maybe burn some extra calories while sitting. My weekends are always pretty active since we normally give the how a good scrub down, do our shopping and errands and play outside a lot with DD during that time...
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Old 05-20-2011, 04:19 PM   #2
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Runningfromfat - The same thing happened to me back in October. I was self employed and free to spend my day as I liked. It was hard when I came back to my 9-5 but I've sorta gotten used to it now. I do little things like park my car farther away in the garage; I use the stairs as much as possible. I leave a pair sneakers in my car and sometimes I try and get a quick walk in before I get in the car to head home. I also work at a computer and while I'm sitting at my desk, each day I try to do some leg lifts which is a great ab workout. Fortunately, I have a tiny fridge under my desk and I have a personal 1 cup coffee maker at my desk. I find that preparing most of my meals for the week on the weekend helps so that when I get home in the evening, I can just heat something up. The hardest part for me was getting in my workouts because I used to do it in the morning and hate working out in the evening. Now that the days are longer, it's a little bit easier though. I wish you much success
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:05 PM   #3
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I don't know if this would be possible for you, but some people have gone to using a standing desk, as opposed to a sitting one, and even having a small treadmill that they constantly walk on while working. My DH uses the standing desk (no treadmill) set-up and likes it. It helps with his back pain.

Just a thought.
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:37 PM   #4
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Haha I've been posting a lot on this recently (i.e. this thread) so I felt I had to chime in

The above recommendation to stand while you're on your computer is the easiest and arguably best suggestion. Place your computer on a book shelf, table, or other surface where it's at a comfortable height to type while standing up (in other words, your back is straight and you aren't hunched over). An even better version is to set up a workplace treadmill- there are lots of how-to guides online. The premise is you walk slowly (1-2 mph) while working, which over the course of the day burns tons of calories.

You could also sit on a stability ball while working, which many people find uncomfortable at first, but quickly adapt to. It's very good for the lower back and core.

If you don't feel comfortable with either of these options, you could also incorporate regular moving around and NEAT principles into your day. It is recommended to get up every 20 minutes to walk around. Do stretches, work on laundry, etc. Keep a pair of resistance bands and a YouTube video pulled up on your computer and do desk exercises. (This one is perfect for sitting in a chair). Take the dog for several long walks throughout the day, walk while calling a friend or making work calls, etc. Fidget while you're at your desk. Anything to continue movement throughout the day is great to raise your activity level.

These are just a few ideas, other people made some suggestions on the thread I posted above. Good luck!
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:54 PM   #5
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indiblue - Thanks so much for pointing me in the direction of the other thread! I'm just going to post here what I posted over there too.

Standing at work would be complicated because I'd have to get a new desk, which would come out of my travel funds so it's not going to happen (I'd much rather go to the US or Europe )! That being said, I love the idea of a stability ball and have always found those things fun, so I'm going to see what the cost would be to pick one up.


It's funny, I'm normally a REALLY fidgety person so I guess that does go to my advantage! We also don't have a car and take public transit so I do a lot of sitting/walking when I'm not at work. Actually, I'm technically doing work right now and am sort of swaying/dancing back and forth because the neighbor's playing read loud dance music, I'm such a dork!

Oh, and I LOVED the idea about the Kindergarten. Actually, we're sending my DD to a Montessori school because I feel really strongly about including motion with learning (there's actually some great research there if anybod'y interested!) and the thought of sitting at a desk all day makes me cringe. I think I drove my teacher's nuts too because I was constantly fidgeting. I still do in meetings!
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Starting Measurements (B/W/H): about 51/40/46, 240 lbs Goal Reached Pre-Pregnancy: 39/29.5/38, 156lbs Current: about 43/34/42
Mini-Goals
Started at 240
Onederland 199 (Jan 6, 2010, exactly 2 years after my previous due date!)
Overweight BMI 185 (Aug 3, 2011, one year after joining 3FC!)
Pre-pregnancy weight 175 (Oct 18, 2011)
Called Goal 156

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Old 05-20-2011, 10:21 PM   #6
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I totally understand that buying a new desk is expensive. But is there a shelf you can put it on? I clear off half of a bookshelf and put my computer there. Alternatively, you or your husband could build a little wooden stand to place on top of a regular desk. Or, you could buy a very short table to put on a desk/kitchen table (something like this: http://gigaom.com/collaboration/how-...tion-for-1999/). Just a few thoughts.

The fact that you fidget, move around, take public transport are all great and definitely contributing to keeping your body as active as possible throughout the day! Cleaning the house, cooking (one of my favorite ways to get myself to stand up for a few hours), doing stretches or using resistance bands while watching TV, standing up while folding clothes, etc... tons of ways to keep moving throughout the day and supplement regimented exercise.

Definitely let us know if you figure out something about your computer, you could be an inspiration to others trying to figure out the same problem!
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Old 05-21-2011, 06:04 AM   #7
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I used to work at a desk job. Here's what I'd do.

Make any excuse to get up from the desk. Get a glass of water. Go talk to that person instead of asking by e-mail. Make your own copies of something instead of getting someone else to do it. Any reason you have to get up from your desk even for a few minutes is good.

Stand while working whenever possible. We had adjustable desks at work that would allow us to put our machines up high enough to stand for. But even standing to organize some papers. Sometimes there wasn't enough room for everyone to sit in our meetings. I always chose to stand.

Take your breaks. When everyone else is on their 10 minute smoke break, you go take a lap around the building.

Use lunch to your advantage. Some people have longer lunches than others, but I never used the full 45 minutes I once got to eat. So I'd eat and then take a short walk or something.

I couldn't avoid sitting all day long, but the little things certainly helped.

Best of luck!
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Old 05-21-2011, 09:25 AM   #8
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I do the same as Lovely. I never phone someone when I could visit their desk instead. Rosemary Conley's advice is to never leave someting at the bottom of the stairs - take it up now. I apply the same principle at work: instead of waiting for a large pile of used paper to build before I tak it to the recyling bin, I now take each sheet as I've used it. It's probablt distracting for my colleagues, but no-one's mentioned it yet!
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Old 05-22-2011, 05:38 AM   #9
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I stand at my desk. I just put an inverted rubbermaid tub on top of my desk and put my laptop on top of it. It's just about the right height. I use a trackball so real estate for the mouse is not an issue (it took a while to get used to it, but now I love it and would never go back to the mouse. I actually switched to the trackball first because of wrist pain). When I need a break from standing, I kneel on my chair and that is just about the right height too (and still better than sitting). If you do find a way to stand, shift your weight around and take little breaks to take a few steps. Good luck!
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