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Last Updated on February 27, 2018

Walk While You Work, You’ll Be 10X Healthier

Walk While You Work, You’ll Be 10X Healthier

In a 2013 article in the New Yorker, writer Susan Orlean informed us that she works on a treadmill desk. For those who are unfamiliar, a treadmill desk is a set-up where you walk at a slow pace – usually not much faster than 2 mph – on a treadmill and using a tall standing desk at the same time.[1]

Orlean writes that the biggest problem with this set-up is that she has a constant compulsion to announce that she’s working on a treadmill desk.

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    Sitting silently kills us

    But despite the impulse to virtue-signal to all your coworkers, friends, and family, walking while working in incredible for your health. Susan writes the real health risks of sitting more than 6 hours per day – and most Americans sit for more than 11 hours per day!

    It’s not surprising that we sit so much: our lives are geared toward this stasis. Many of us have desks at work, and we spend a lot of our time there staring at computer screens, reading, writing, making calls, etc.

    The net effect of this is that our muscles remain inactive for 70 to 80% of our waking hours. We burn fewer calories than we did 50 years ago. And, worst of all, there are serious health issues at risk. As Orlean notes, sitting can lead to cardiovascular problems, Type 2 diabetes, certain kinds of cancer, and depression.

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    Check out this infographic for all the health issues caused by sitting too much:

      But, as Orlean notes,

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      “the thing with walking, though, is that it really does take a lot of time. When I ran, I could whip through five miles in forty-five minutes, but walking the same distance would take forever.”

      We all have long workdays and home obligations that eat up our hours. This is where the treadmill desk is perfect! You can work up to walking for one or two hours, or even more, thus avoiding the potential health problems and helping you get more active and burn more calories throughout the day.

      Don’t just sit there!

      It’s not a must to get a treadmill, which can be somewhat expensive. A great alternative to get started is a standing desk, or a convertible desk that moves up and down for both standing and seated work. A shelf, countertop, or sturdy box could work as makeshift standing desks as well.

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        As you get started, alternate often. It can take a while to get used to physically active working. Work for 20 minutes standing, then sit for 20 minutes. Keep switching back and forth. Once this becomes easy, you can increase you standing time – but still make sure you take breaks! And when you can, take a little walk while you work, such as if you’re talking to customers, having a conference call, or listening to an audiobook.

        It takes some getting used to, but give it a shot! Transition from sitting to standing, and from standing to walking. You too can avoid the chair trap and make small healthy and powerful changes to your work style.

        Featured photo credit: Business Insider via youtube.com

        Reference

        [1]The New Yorker: The Walking Alive

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        Last Updated on January 14, 2019

        7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

        7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

        From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

        What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

        1. Take the scenic route.

        Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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        Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

        2. Distract yourself.

        No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

        3. Listen to music or podcasts.

        There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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        4. Bring a friend.

        Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

        Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

        5. Accessorize.

        There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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        For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

        6. Compete.

        A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

        7. Relax.

        The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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        With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

        Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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