How to Not Sit on Your Butt All Day When Your Job Requires You to Sit on Your Butt All Day

I work in IT. More importantly, I work in IT in a global company that has offices all around the country and 95% of all their meetings online to accommodate people being in several different work locations. In other words, in order to do my job, I have to spend the vast majority of my time at work at my desk, in front of my computer. And it drives me insane.

I wear a Fitbit (a fancy pedometer) on my wrist every day with a goal set to 10,000 steps (about five miles total of walking throughout the day). If I’m lucky, on a good day, I MIGHT get to just over 2,000 steps by the time I’m leaving work. Considering by that point I’m about halfway through my waking hours for the day, that’s pretty pathetic. So after a lot whining, complaining, and insisting this was important to me without actually making any serious changes (a familiar pattern for people wanting to “exercise more” or “get in shape”), I’ve decided to do something about it. Here’s my plan of action:

1) I just recently switched office buildings, so I made a commitment on the first day I moved to park all the way at the back of the parking lot. Granted, this probably only gives me an extra 100-200 steps a day, but that’s still 100-200 closer to my goal than I would have been before. And you don’t have to switch work locations to make this one happen; just make the decision to commit to yourself and start parking further away. This also works at grocery stores!

2) Now when I get frustrated or bored (unless I’m in a meeting), instead of just thinking about how nice it’d be if I could go for a run to blow off some steam and/or clear my head, I actually get up and go do something. Today I ran up and down the stairs five times. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go for a quick walk around the outside of the building, and then the day after I’ll walk from my building down to the main street and back. Who knows? There are plenty of opportunities to get out of your chair for a few minutes to move around, and all of them are good.

3) I brought some hand grips to work that I keep in my desk and can pull out to squeeze during meetings. Bonus: this helps my grip strength for aerial!

4) I also decided to splurge and buy an under-desk elliptical so I could pedal away while I’m still sitting. If you have an environment that’s conducive to it and the cash to make it happen, there are also desk treadmills that I think would be preferable to the elliptical (because even though I’ll be pedaling, I’ll still be sitting). If you’re on a smaller budget, they make cheap bike pedals that you can keep under your desk at work for the same reason. I went with the elliptical because it was cheaper than comparable bike pedal options I found (I wanted it to count my steps and be quiet enough to not bother my coworkers), but really anything that allows you to work and move at the same time will do the trick!

So far, these things seem to be working. I feel better already and when I left the office today I had nearly 5,000 steps. Hooray for positive changes!

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