Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Burning calories when my body's not looking.

Dear Diary,

I hate that whenever I sign up for anything that involves having a profile, and I have to categorize myself as sedentary. I might run a lot but I sit for eight hours a day at work. I've also been trying to figure out why these 20 pounds keeps hanging on. I was speaking to a collegue who just had her hips replaced, and she went on a rant against sitting. It undoes everything, she said.

I recalled that in my last job I had to get work out of my inbox, which was down a flight of stairs. I would also print and fax using a machine that was downstairs. When I started that job, and began daily six to eight trips up and down the stairs throughout the day, I rapidly lost 20 lbs. In this job, I've put on 15 lbs in 16 months. I sit, sit, sit.

And then there's this excerpt from a reviewer on Amazon who summarized a chapter of the book, "The First Twenty Minutes":

8) Sitting adversely affects the health of even the well-exercised. Even if you exercise one hour a day, it does not counteract the ill effects of sitting for the rest of the day. It's important to break up the long hours of sitting, even if it's for a two-minute stroll. This was probably the most shocking discovery for me, who felt very virtuous by exercising every morning before my one hour drive to work followed by 8 hours sitting on a chair!

So, i found a flight of stairs near my office. It's actually two flights, leading up to the roof. I bought this watch

It has 12 alarms on it and instead of beeping it vibrates. This is nice for when you're in a meeting and need a reminder of the time but don't want to be obvious about leaving when your watch is leaving. It's also nice if you're hard of hearing or work in a noisy environment. I bought it primarily for doing therapy, but it also reminds me to take medication in the middle of the day.

I set alarms for 10, 12, and 2. Each time the alarm went off, I slipped on my flats, went over to the stairs, and ran up and down them, twice. This has the added benefit of doing some "high knees" which I badly need, as I tend to shuffle. I started doing this the week of august 30.

I'm also investigating ways to stand more at my desk. I'm kinda intrigued by this, because when I was a teacher, when I went back to school i would automatically drop about 10 lbs. i think this was mainly because I walked and stood almost all day.

Apparently it involves some jerryrigging and cushiony mats.

So here's my experiment:

I've spent two days standing at my desk. It reminds me of when I was a teacher and went back to school in August. Back then the first week was agony, lower back pain and foot pain. for my experiment, the first day, my feet hurt, so I brought an anti-fatigue mat from my kitchen. Ahhh. The second day, my hips ached a bit, so I walked around more. Better.

But, I felt more alert, and I didn't get my afternoon sleepy.

I'll keep you posted.



  1. My employer has been slowly going through the offices and doing updates. One of the options for a new desk was one that moved up and down, enabling the employee to stand. I immediately chose that option. Having said that, my own doctor told me that constantly standing can do it's own damage, so I've been adding in about an hour of sitting every day - easy as I eat both breakfast and lunch at my desk so I sit then. But I LOVE my standing desk. Now, if I could just get them to give me a treadmill with it, I'd be all set!

  2. I like the alarm idea. A lot. I'm stealing it.

  3. That's a great thing about my job (since I AM a teacher). I'm up and down constantly. Good luck with your experiment!

  4. Anonymous4:06 PM

    Try chasing preschoolers around all day (and lifting them up all the time!) It's great endurance training along with whatever I do before I get to work!


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