The workplace is making us unfit

Sitting behind a desk is making us fat. Try a walking meeting when you can.

From Eileen:  Working is not good for your waistline. Or should we say sitting at a desk for eight hours a day and only getting up to wander over to the candy dish is definitely not good for your waistline and your overall fitness level?

In a study of the American workplace, a group of researchers found that 80 percent of jobs are sedentary or require or light activity, which is way down from 1960 when 50 percent of the jobs in the workforce required some sort of moderate activity.

 That amounts to an average decline of about 100 calories per day, according to the report published this week in a journal called Plos One.

In the New York Times, Tara Parker Pope writes:

 But the new emphasis on declining workplace activity also represents a major shift in thinking, and it suggests that health care professionals and others on the front lines against obesity, who for years have focused primarily on eating habits and physical activity at home and during leisure time, have missed a key contributor to America’s weight problem. The findings also put pressure on employers to step up workplace heath initiatives and pay more attention to physical activity at work.

With so many hours devoted to work , it’s easy to see why exercise falls off the to-do list. After sitting all day, it’s hard to ramp it up when you get home. Employers need to do more to get America moving.  It’s in everyone’s best interest to have a healthy workforce.

In the meantime, however, what are you supposed to do? Here are a few things I  do at work whenever I can. Let me know if you have any other thoughts.

  • Try walking meetings, if possible. Yes, it’s hard to round folks up to walk and meet, but you’d be amazed at how much more you get done when everyone is moving.
  •  Take the stairs. Yes, you’ve heard this before, but really commit to the stairs whenever you can. And while you’re at it, park your car at the far end of the lot.
  •  See what you can sneak in at lunchtime. Is there a gym nearby with a noon spin class? No? Well, just walk around the parking lot for 30 minutes or so. When the weather is bad, we walk around an empty floor of our building.
  •  Ask your HR person about hosting some sort of competition. My company does the Active for Live challenge sponsored by the American Cancer Society where teams compete in a weekly tally of how much each member has exercised. You’d be surprised how competion gets people moving. That, and a free lunch for the winners!

 These are just a few ideas. Any thoughts on what you can do to get moving in the workplace?

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