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Old 03-19-2013, 07:30 PM   #1
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Default Keeping active for a sedentary job

Does anybody have any recommendations for keeping physically active during the day when dealing with a sedentary job.

I'm looking to be a concept artist for video games, and that involves a lot of time on the computer. I want to keep physically active during the day.

Any thoughts?
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:58 PM   #2
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Oooo! Do you have any work/a portfolio online?

I guess you would just have to make time for being active... or you could do those chair exercises.

I at least try to take a break from my work and stretch (stretch your fingers!).
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:34 AM   #3
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Yoga might work: you can do it in a confined space, and you only hold each pose for a moment (five inhalations and exhalations, says my teacher). You need to take a few minutes' break every half hour or so, anyway, so it could fit neatly into just about any schedule.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Weirdo890 View Post
Does anybody have any recommendations for keeping physically active during the day when dealing with a sedentary job.

I'm looking to be a concept artist for video games, and that involves a lot of time on the computer. I want to keep physically active during the day.

Any thoughts?
Hi Weirdo,

I tend to divide workplace controls for helping computer operators keep fit (and help them maintain good health while working a desk job) into two categories -

Controls provided by the employer Things here cost a little more money, so usually the employer invests in the hardware in order to protect the employe from injuries (such as carpal tunnel syndrome, back injuries, neck problems, etc.). Things that work well are computer desks that allow fexibility on allowing the operator to work while sitting or standing. Varying position during the day allows use of different muscle groups and less stress on one heavily used muscle group. There are even computer screens now that are paired with treadmills.

Another neat design that allows back flexibility is the chair built around a "bouncy ball". This requires the person sitting on the ball to constantly be adjusting their back muscles and therefore exercising their back (to keep it more healthy and pain free). It can be changed out with a regular chair in rotation.

And one more employer provided "perk" that really helps that is giving (or partially funding) a fitness program, wellness program, or any kind of gym related or group activity related program for employees. This makes employees feel better, work better, and have an overall fitter lifestyle. Yoga is also a great way to do this.


Controls provided/or done by employee

One of the simpliest ways of helping your fitness and preventing back problems and other "bad things" from sedentary work is just exactly as SD007 and Doc recommended - get up and move around periodically. This is the main problem with working a the computer, we sit too long. Getting up and moving around helps get the blood flowing and makes our internal structures more healthy. Get a timer, set it, and just get up and walk out of the room every hour or two hours. Just get up and walk down the hall, or walk down and up a flight of stairs, or do some simple exercises - anything to move around. Stair climbing is one of the best ways an indoor employee can quickly and inexpensively get a great workout. Plus, you don't have to climb all day - just one flight is a great start..

Or invest in a program like the popular Xbox Dance activites. Workout using the computer. But, use your body instead of just using your head. You can also check with Fortune 500 companies that have great employee dedicated computer realted fitness programs (Apple, Axium, Goggle, Microsoft, and Zappos, there probably are others too if someone wants to add more. You can search for the keyword "ergonomics".)

Remember, you can have the best chair in the world to sit in, but if you sit in it too long, your back is going to hurt and it is going to cause you trouble. The main idea is be flexible and maintain variation of your positions while at work. (If you can write this stuff into your future computer programs and reduce workplace back and wrist injuries, you may have a pot of gold.)
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:53 PM   #5
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Weirdo,

The following article from Wiki has some excellent info on computer related stress problems. I especially liked the last 1/3 of the article which dealt with controls to assist the person working at a terminal. Check out the section called "Adjunct Interventions". . . .


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repetitive_strain_injury
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:41 AM   #6
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If your employer allows you to take a full hour lunch break, you may wish to bring a sandwich or something from home that can be eaten fairly quickly. Then spend the rest of the hour walking outside.

Many employers frown upon a person taking too many breaks and you may get talked to if they perceive you are spending too much time away from your computer, so please be careful to limit your activity time to your break time. They should give you a lunch hour and two 15-minute breaks if you are a full-time employee.

You can also try getting to work early, and walking around the building for 15-20 minutes in the morning. Then when you get off work, walk around some more before going home.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:53 AM   #7
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You will no doubt have to set aside some out-of-work time for more vigorous activities, but absolutely you can and should weave what activity you can into your work day. Aside from the obvious fact that every bit of activity helps, some recent studies have found that long stretches of being sedentary seem to be responsible for a lot of the issues which we generally associate with lack of activity (i.e. if you sit on your butt for 8 hours, then do 90 minutes of hard exercise, you might actually be more prone to various health issues than someone breaks up their day with short patches of activity, even if they do less total and less vigorous exercise—obviously you need the more intense exercise for fitness, but for health it seems to almost be that a lack of sedentary time is more important than the exercise).

One thing to think about is how you can add exercise to your commute. Depending on how close you live, could you walk or bike to work? (and does your work place or somewhere close have showers? If so it makes it more feasible to work hard on the way to work) If you take public transit, could you get off a bit early and walk the last bit, or take a route that doesn’t take you right there so you have to walk the last bit? If you drive, can you park at the far end of the parking lot, or use a lot a couple of blocks away? If you are taking public transit, you could get a stress ball, tennis ball, racquetball ball, etc and squeeze it as you ride.

As for what you can do during work hours, a lot depends on the nature of your job. Some really want people at their desks every possible minute, some are more flexible as long as work is getting done. The latter sure makes it easier to break things up.

If your building has them, stairs are great. More are better, but even a single fight helps. Obviously use them over an elevator, but also you can take a few minute break by simply getting up, go to the stairs, quickly go up and down a few flights, then go back to work with your blood flowing better. If you happen to have a staircase that extends past a top floor to reach a roof access, that top flight is a good place to do a few other exercises out of sight of people (do 10 squats, do some stretches of your calves, if the railings are close enough together you can use them to do pull ups, generally use your imagination)

Rather than calling/IMing/emailing a colleague, get up and walk over to talk to them in person. The issue may get resolved more quickly, and it gets you moving a bit.

For short meetings and discussions, stand rather than sit, and while you are standing fidget around a bit (put your weight on one leg or the other, twist a bit at the waist, bounce up to your toes and back down)

At your desk one thing you can do is leg lifts. Rest one ankle over the other, then straighten out the lower leg (lifting the upper one) (you can also get ‘ankle’ weights you can leave under your desk, and just hook them with your toe when you want to lift them). If you have times where you only need one hand (it is all mouse work for example, or you are just reading something) again can squeeze a ball of some sort. For a short at-desk break from work, put one hand on each arm rest and lift-and-lower yourself in your seat a few times.
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:20 PM   #8
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For short meetings and discussions, stand rather than sit, and while you are standing fidget around a bit (put your weight on one leg or the other, twist a bit at the waist, bounce up to your toes and back down)
That one may depend on where the OP works and how formal the company is. In my company, we all have to sit during the team meetings and the big group meetings that last for over an hour.

But again, it really depends...maybe try asking the boss? Or try getting to the point where you can make a presentation at some meetings so you won't be out of place standing for 10 minutes or so? Smaller companies will probably be willing to offer more flexibility than larger ones where everyone is expected to be a clone.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:11 AM   #9
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That one may depend on where the OP works and how formal the company is. In my company, we all have to sit during the team meetings and the big group meetings that last for over an hour.

But again, it really depends...maybe try asking the boss? Or try getting to the point where you can make a presentation at some meetings so you won't be out of place standing for 10 minutes or so? Smaller companies will probably be willing to offer more flexibility than larger ones where everyone is expected to be a clone.
Dear EMH1701, the standing for 10 minutes would be a good idea that would help the company reduce the terrible cost most employers pay toward back injuries. Look up your compay's losses (in money) and losses in valuable employees and pain and suffering. Saving even a fraction of this cost by doing a simple exercise of standing a few minutes should be a no-brainer.

Plus, a talented speaker could incorporate this exercise into his/her presentation. For example while standing, do some simple yoga moves. Reach for the sky and illusrate the point of succeeding reading goals. Push and pull moves could illustrate the point of bring in good points and excluding bad things. (People who cannot stand for that length of time could do these moves while sitting in their chairs.)

EMH1701 - you obviously have a flair for this sort of blending training with some necessary body actions (to relieve stress and strain). If you can start selling this to your boss and let the audience have fun (but learn some good things toward their wellbeing) - you should have a winner and could go far with this kind of instruction.
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Old 06-08-2013, 05:40 PM   #10
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Plus, a talented speaker could incorporate this exercise into his/her presentation. For example while standing, do some simple yoga moves. Reach for the sky and illusrate the point of succeeding reading goals. Push and pull moves could illustrate the point of bring in good points and excluding bad things. (People who cannot stand for that length of time could do these moves while sitting in their chairs.)
You are giving me good ideas for a Toastmaster's speech. I wish I was that much into Yoga. I've done some of it but I'm very much a beginner still.
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:01 AM   #11
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Default What not to do in a formal business meeting

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You will no doubt have to set aside some out-of-work time for more vigorous activities, but absolutely you can and should weave what activity you can into your work day. (snipped)

For short meetings and discussions, stand rather than sit, and while you are standing fidget around a bit (put your weight on one leg or the other, twist a bit at the waist, bounce up to your toes and back down).
(snipped)
Tad, I love your ideas - they are great. I only have one addition/modification. When I was working and in a meeting my boss would blow a gasket if I started fidgeting and acting "squirrely" while he was talking or when a speaker was talking that he had invited in. We were expected to sit still, face forward, look awestruck, pretend to take notes, not talk to people next to you, no giggling, no bird calls, no farts, do not pass around candy or drugs, and only one emergency bathroom run per person per every two hours (your must return within 10 minutes) and cannot smell like smoke when you return.

Here's more useless information -
I was almost fired for violation of these unwritten rules. With MS you have poor bladder control - frequent bathroom runs are required and you are lucky to make it in time - I would dash out of meetings and lumber down the hall like a rhino trotting every 45 minutes or so. I'd come back into to the meeting and be greeting with nasty glares from my boss.

Then something worse started happening. Also with MS, you can have inappropriate outbursts and reactions during normal conversations (this is caused by short circuiting areas of the brain that govern speech, manners, behavior, etc.) And yes, I would do this accidentally when the boss was talking. I would start giggling, snickering and sometimes mumbling (like a crazy person). I guess you could say I was temporarily crazy. That little act would really get me the evil eye from the boss - I thing he was getting ready to pull me out of the room and send me home - but he didn't. Things on my end kept crumbling tho and to make the rest of the story short, I had to leave work a few months later.
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:04 PM   #12
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M2M: Sorry about the issues you had to deal with at work

As for the original poster, since he is looking to work as a concept artist on video games, I'm guessing at a fairly relaxed and informal culture--but you never really do know just by industry.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:49 PM   #13
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M2M: Sorry about the issues you had to deal with at work

I appreciate your kind words Tad. It was a good job while it (or I) lasted. I got to visit all sorts of businesses, I traveled the entire US to conferences, I received some very good educational courses, met some great people, and was able to work 20 years and was able to squirrel away a house before I imploded. I am okay now - just a busy little spider and pestering everyone.

As for the original poster, since he is looking to work as a concept artist on video games, I'm guessing at a fairly relaxed and informal culture--but you never really do know just by industry.
You are right, I should have thought of that!
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