This Thanksgiving, I'll be starting the day with meditation, then watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's all about balance, people. Then later in the...Read More
Get Up, Stand Up.
The volume of the buzz about the dangers of sitting has been gradually increasing over the last few years. Now, it’s less like a gnat and more like a giant cicada for me, especially as I start to dig into two new massive writing projects. I’m trying to start a new habit, and I invite you to try it along with me. It’s called Get Up, Stand Up.
For your listening pleasure while you read the ideas in this post: Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up”… because it’s your right to be healthy.
What is Get Up, Stand Up?
It’s pretty simple. Every time I sit down at my desk to work, I’m going to set a timer for one hour. When the timer goes off, I’m going to do one of the following activities — should take less than 5 minutes:
50 air squats
shoulder mobility: arm circles forward/back/up & down/scissors, pec stretch, behind-the-neck press w/ PVC
25 walking lunges
15 pullups (band)
20 dips (chair)
a walk around the block
As part of my Get Up, Stand Up routine, I’ll send a tweet when my timer goes off so you can play along with me if you’d like. We’ll be virtual workout buddies!
I Know What You’re Thinking
You’re thinking, “That’s easy enough for you, Mel. You work at home.”
And you’re right. It’s slightly easier for me because I’m in my home office. But for those of you that work in a corporate setting, shared office, cubicle, or other space outside your house, I have ideas for you, too.
It doesn’t have to be every hour.
I have complete control over my schedule, so I can set a 6-minute timer, but in an office, you might not. You might have meetings and other requirements, so just do your best. Get up and move as often as possible. Suggest a walk around the block with a colleague to discuss an issue instead of a sit-down meeting. In long meetings, get up and move around while talking. The first time might feel awkward, but as it becomes a habit, it will get easier. Embrace your reputation as the “weirdo” who likes to stand during meetings. (I might have been that girl in my office. Maybe.)
Request a standing desk.
I’ve toyed with the idea of a standing desk, but I’m trying this movement thing instead. Lots of corporate offices are open to the idea of standing desks because it’s in their best interest to keep you healthy and productive. Here are two pretty good articles to help you explore the possibilities and make your case: Why and How I Switched to a Standing Desk; from the Wall Street Journal, Standing Desks are on the Rise; and tips from Boing Boing.
Try a few cubicle- and office-friendly movements.
I used to practice handstands in my corporate overlords’ hallway in a corner that was hidden from the video surveillance cameras, so clearly, I have no issues with acting like a ding-dong at work. I understand that others have aspirations to be respected in the office — or maybe have to comply with a formal-ish dress code — so I’ve pulled together some ideas for movements that might not draw unwanted attention to you.
If you have your own cube, you can do squats, pushups, situps, stationary lunges, dips, etc. where no one can see you. If you don’t have a private cubicle, try these:
Go into the hallway and do walking lunges up and back.
Walk up and down flights of stairs. (Works even if you wear grown-up clothes.)
Take a walk around the block. Smokers take smoke breaks; you deserve a walking break. (Works even if you wear grown-up clothes.)
Use the sink counter in the rest room to do elevated pushups; wash hands accordingly after. (No lie: When I worked in my corporate office, I used to go in the large handicap stall to do air squats when I needed a break.)
Look around and see what your office has to offer for “equipment.” My old corporate kitchen was empty in the afternoons and had a heavy wooden bench that was the perfect height for step-ups. Look with fresh eyes at your environment and see what you can come up with!