The Goddess Weighs In

Living Large and Healthy

9 to 5 Will Kill Us All

on April 12, 2012

Every day I sit at a desk in front of a computer and rot.  Much like a veal I rarely leave my office and paperwork piles up around me like prison walls.  Lest you think this is a common rant from another administrative staffer who dreams of winning the lottery and never having to work again, I actually like being productive and seeing my organization succeed.  What I take issue with is how we do our work.

My current position affords me more movement and, dare I say, exercise than my previous position because the photocopier and the printer are down the hall.  In my previous position I could go several hours prepping files and writing letters without ever leaving my chair.  I started going to the washroom more frequently just so I could get up and move.

As a result of all this sedentary work I have developed sciatica and some of the valves in my legs are malfunctioning causing varicose veins and pooling of the blood in my lower legs which can make them feel heavy and stiff at times.  I am supposed to wear special stockings for this issue, but they are not always convenient,  Shame on me since I do notice a positive difference when I wear them regularly like I’m supposed to.

So let’s make a list of active jobs. . .um yoga instructor, personal trainer, dog walker. . . The first two would require years of training and experience,  the third seems to have limited opportunities for advancement.  A friend told me that truck inspectors walk a great deal, but that would no doubt require me to know which end of a truck is which. I could open a gym assuming I could find appropriate financial backing, but there’s a good chance I’d end up in the office bogged down in paperwork instead of working out regularly.

The answer is to change how we do our jobs, after all we can’t all be fitness instructors.  I would love to see more workplaces incorporating fitness and movement into their operations.  According to my chiropractor just standing up and sitting back down every twenty minutes will have a positive effect.  I have seen software that will alert workers to stretch or move at specific intervals.  I’ve also seen work stations that move up and down so that workers who are effectively tied to their computers can at least move around.  Unfortunately while these tools are available, they are not widely used in my workplace and given that my friends are not telling me about these tools I suspect they are not widely used elsewhere. In my workplace we are fortunate to be able to organize exercise classes like yoga or Pilates for a decent price over the lunch hour, but with a strict hour for lunch it doesn’t leave a lot of time when you need to change, get to the class and eat.  A few extra minutes on either side of the hour would make a big difference in getting to the class and being able to fully participate.

Some may argue that giving up work time for fitness and moving about throughout the day wastes work time and would reduce productivity, but I was off for the better part of three weeks with sciatica a year or so ago, so productivity for that period was zero and when I returned to work I was fuzzy-brained for some time from the pain killers.

Some may not wish to include physical activity in their workday as they may not wish their colleagues to see them in work out gear or they may fear that huffing and puffing on the stair master next to their boss might affect their opportunities for advancement.  I can only hope that increasing general fitness levels in the workplace would not be seen as an opportunity for belittling those less fit, and would in fact be used as an opportunity to increase productivity and general wellness by keeping the workforce healthier.  In  the meantime perhaps I can find a “dummies” book on truck inspections…

– the Goddess

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