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13 Ways to Get Moving at Work


Like so many of you, I suffer from back pain, which I keep in check by taking care of my body with daily yoga, weekly Pilates classes, and being conscious about my posture. And though my job is pretty awesome, I do spend my days in front of a computer. I love writing and editing, but I don't love sitting. I am fortunate that the SparkPeople offices have not only a treadmill desk but some standing desk options as well.

When I'm working on large projects, I've been known to spend hours and hours sitting--without much movement. As soon as I do stand up, my body feels it. So I avoid staleness of mind and stiffness of body by finding creative ways to move throughout the day.

Here's what works for me:
Posted 5/31/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 83 comments   67,053 views
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7 Ways to Beat the Afternoon Slump


Afternoon fatigue (hitting around 2 or 3 p.m.) is very common, which is why some cultures embrace the afternoon nap. But if your office doesn't have a space for napping (or if your boss would frown on the practice), what can you do to prevent the afternoon slump?

1. Practice good sleep habits. Do you go to bed and get up at roughly the same times every day? You'll be less likely to get tired late in the day if you have a regular sleep schedule and get at least 8 hours of rest a night.

2. Eat a balanced diet. Eating a filling breakfast and lunch will help keep your energy levels stable throughout the day. If you start the day with a big cup of coffee and grab a bag of chips from the vending machine around noon, you're setting yourself up for afternoon exhaustion.
Posted 1/21/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 16 comments   31,173 views
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Do Co-Workers Hurt or Help Your Weight Loss?


I’m lucky to work in an office where the environment is generally healthy.  We have a kitchen stocked with healthy foods, and it’s very typical to see people using our gym equipment or a workout video at lunchtime.   Occasionally someone will bring in an extra box of Girl Scout cookies or leftover cupcakes from their kid’s birthday party.  Fortunately that’s the exception and not the norm, because those treats are always tempting when I see them innocently calling my name on the kitchen counter. 
 
Many (if not most) office environments aren’t quite like mine.  If candy jars and donuts for the morning meeting are common, you might find it more difficult to stick to your healthy eating plan.  It’s even more difficult if you are singled out by co-workers for your newly adopted eating habits.  Some might encourage you to “Take just a handful of M&M’s.  A few aren’t going to hurt you.”  Others might encourage you to skip your lunchtime workout to have lunch out with the group.  A few extra treats or skipped workouts can eventually hinder your progress and get you off track from reaching your goals.  So what do you do?  Do you seem ungrateful for the treat or lunch invitation by declining?  Or do you accept knowing the consequences could be negative? 
Posted 4/17/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 45 comments   8,538 views
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Stuff We Love: The LifeSpan Treadmill Desk


Here at dailySpark, we've talked a lot about the pitfalls of sitting. Whether you have a sedentary job, sit through lectures as a student, or do your share of commuting or couch surfing, the research is clear about spending too much time on your rear: It’s bad for your health, your back and your waistline. And while it may be surprising (even a little depressing), these facts hold true even if you are a consistent exerciser. (Boo!) After all, even an hour or two in the gym can still mean 22-23 hours a day that you're not active at all, and it's those long periods of inactivity that can increase your cholesterol, contribute to weight gain and contribute to chronic pain for many people.
 
I've previously blogged about my own attempts to counter the effects of my desk job, from creating a standing workstation to sitting on a ball to trying more back-friendly chairs. So when our friends at Best Buy offered to send us a treadmill desk to test, we jumped—er, walked—at the chance.
 
Best Buy sent us the LifeSpan TR 1200DT Desktop Treadmill, which we set up in an empty cube at the office so that all employees who wanted to try working from their feet instead of their butts would have an equal chance to use it. So what's it like to work while you walk? Check out our video review, then hear from our other testers and get more details on this walking station.
Posted 3/28/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 55 comments   19,596 views
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Long Hours on the Job Could Affect Your Happiness


My husband is a self-admitted work-a-holic.  Before kids, he would easily put in 12-14 hour days at work, and continue getting calls, pages, emails, etc. after he got home.  Fortunately a lot of that has changed since we had kids, but he’s still someone who works a lot because he’s passionate about his job and loves what he does.  However, he might be the exception rather than the rule. 
 
I have friends who put in very long hours because their job demands it.  They like their jobs, but wouldn’t necessarily say they “love” them.  They work so many hours because there’s just so much to get done.  It’s stressful for those who have kids and are trying to balance work and family, but it’s also stressful for those who don’t because they still want to have a work-life balance.   I’ve had long talks with a few of these friends because their job situations are stressful and to a certain extent, make them sad.  The results of a new study seem to validate the idea that working long hours is tied to higher rates of depression.
Posted 3/9/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 53 comments   12,896 views
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Straighten Up for Better Health


I've blogged in the past about my battle with my posture, because I have been a sloucher since I was a kid. It's something that makes me cringe when I look at pictures of myself and think "Why doesn't anyone ever tell me to stand up straight?" Having a desk job doesn't help, because it's easy to slump down in my chair when working at a computer for hours at a time. According to new research, thousands of people are losing days of work due to posture-related aches and injuries.
Posted 6/14/2011  2:14:29 PM By: Jen Mueller : 27 comments   10,796 views
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4 Fitness-Friendly Alternatives to Your Desk Chair


Raise your hand if you spend most of your day sitting at a desk.

I'm right there with you.

When I was studying fitness and exercise in college, I never actually dreamed that I'd end up with a desk job when it was all said and done. Don't get me wrong: I love my job at SparkPeople! But I don't love being glued to a desk and computer screen for 8-10 hours a day.

Too much sitting is bad for your health and for your fitness level. But what's a good employee to do? Do you really have any alternatives to sitting all day when you have a desk job?

The answer is YES!

Background: I've had back problems since I was 18. They come and go (Pilates has helped me keep them going more than coming, however), but last year, my back was in bad, bad shape. Sitting at my desk all day seemed to only exacerbate the problems I was having, so I started looking into alternatives to my standard desk chair to ease my back pain and promote better posture throughout the day. I've tested our four alternatives that all have different benefits, whether it's greater calorie burning, better alignment, or more muscle activation. Bonus: All of them are as cost-effective as most standard desk chairs, so your employer will have no excuse about approving your request (let's hope!).
Posted 4/8/2011  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 31 comments   49,008 views
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Do You Live (and Love) Your Life 7 Days a Week?


"2 hours down, 6 to go until quittin' time."

"I can't wait for the weekend. Could Friday hurry up and get here?"

"Staring at the clock, waiting for the weekend."

Without a doubt, most of us are working for the weekend. We're all guilty of clock-watching at least some days, and we've all wished that days would speed by. But if you're constantly miserable during the week and only living for the weekend, have you ever considered how much life you're missing?

Consider this:

The average American lives to 78.4, according to the World Bank. We spend, let's say, 17 years in school, then about 45 years working.

That leaves about 16 years where we're presumably free to do as we please seven days a week, and for many of us, those years come when we're either too young or too old to appreciate them. (Though I'm a firm believer in age just being a number!)

Those years of five days a week spent working and in school represent about 56% of our total days on Earth. Do you really want to wish more than half of your life away?

I challenge you to find joy in the mundane activities of daily life. Seek pleasure every weekday. Spread happiness an extra five days a week, in addition to anticipating your fun-filled weekends.
Posted 9/28/2010  1:08:04 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 76 comments   15,492 views
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Desk Job Got You Down? Try a Desk-Defying Workout


As a young college student studying health and fitness, I never expected that I'd have a desk job. Certainly I'd be on my feet, active, exercising, training people all day long, right? Turns out, my job is the exact opposite. Working for SparkPeople allows me to share my passion for health and fitness with so many people, helping them get fit and reach their goals. I love what I do. But I don't love sitting on my rear for more than 40 hours per week while I do it. Being handed a "desk sentence" at such a young age is not what I expected.

Although I exercise most days of the week and try to maintain as active of a lifestyle as possible, I'm suffering from too much sitting. Lately, my back aches most of the time, sometimes so badly that I can't sit, stand or lie down comfortably for days. My shoulders round forward, which is doing a number on my posture. My head and neck are in a permanent "forward" position, and my hips are tight. Throughout the day, I notice my shoulders creeping up toward my ears with tension and have to remind myself to relax them down. Ten, 30, 60, even 90 minutes of exercise a day doesn't seem to matter much when I'm spending all the rest of my time on my butt (or on my back, sleeping).

I'm know I'm not alone. Women's Health magazine recently reported on a poll of 6,300 people conducted by the Institute for Medicine and Public Health. They discovered that on average, we spend 56 hours a week sitting behind a computer, at the wheel or in front of the TV. A sedentary lifestyle seems to be the most common side effect we suffer from life in a modern world. We drive (or ride public transit) to work, sit all day at our white collar jobs, make the long commute home (sitting again), and then feel so achy, tired or exhausted from our long days of (mentally) hard work that we plop down on the couch and stare at the TV or computer for a few more hours before we lie down and go to bed. We know a sedentary lifestyle is bad for us. It definitely contributes to weight issues, heart disease, poor blood sugar control, and a host of other ailments.

For awhile, I felt hopeless. Destined for discomfort. Banished to a life of back pain. But lately, I've been tackling my issues head on by getting up from my desk throughout the day, targeting the muscles made weak or tight by sitting while I work out, and changing how I use my body while I use the computer. I'm happy to report that it's been paying off. And since many of you struggle with sedentary jobs that create all sorts of muscular imbalances, which lead to pain and discomfort, I'm sharing a new workout plan with you.
Posted 8/25/2010  5:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 113 comments   114,285 views
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Who's More Stressful: Your Spouse or Your Boss?


Jobs are a big source of stress for many people. It's hard when you're trying to balance tight deadlines, a demanding boss, competition with co-workers, etc. So you'd assume that a good way to unwind after a tough day and might be to go home and spend some time with loved ones. According to a new poll, you might want to rethink that decision. Spouses can end up creating more anxiety than your boss at the office.
Posted 7/6/2010  6:00:19 AM By: Jen Mueller : 124 comments   14,033 views
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Bring Your Walking Shoes to Work on Wednesday


How many of you use your lunch break to go out to eat with your co-workers, run errands, get your hair done or even catch up on some much needed work?

What if you took a little time away from your desk to lace up your shoes to go on a nice walk with your co-workers?

On Wednesday, April 28th people across the United States and Puerto Rico are being encouraged to use their lunch break to celebrate the 4th Annual National Walk @ Lunch Day by using this time to walk--to just get up and move. In a world where time is a premium, we must learn new ways of integrating activity into our day and this may very well be a start.

Posted 4/24/2010  12:03:58 PM By: Nancy Howard : 180 comments   16,192 views
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7 Easy Ways to Relax on the Job (without Getting Fired)


Your boss just dropped another project on your desk. Your co-worker spends more time at the water cooler than at his desk. The phone won't stop ringing, your email inbox is so full it's about to burst, and you've got a meeting with a client in an hour.

Yep, you're stressed.

So how can you present your most cool, calm and collected self and accomplish all the tasks you have to do today?

Take a breather, and try a few minutes of yoga.

Most of us can't unroll a yoga mat and drop into down dog at the office, but that doesn't mean we can't take time for a bit of relaxing and energizing stretches. (Note: These poses are also appropriate for people with mobility issues.)

The next time you need to chill out, try some or all of these poses:
Posted 1/25/2010  12:09:24 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 98 comments   37,967 views
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We Tried It: Gaiam's Balance Ball Chair


As you can imagine, SparkPeople employees are into health and fitness. And even though we are deskbound most of the day (like many of you), we try to make the best of it. You may have heard of people sitting on stability balls at their desks, as a way of engaging their core muscles and improving their posture and getting a little bit of a "workout" at work. But not every office will allow their employees to sit on giant inflated balls, and sometimes the right-sized ball for you just doesn't fit well with your work area. That's where Gaiam's Balance Ball Chair comes in.
Posted 10/22/2008  7:16:44 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 106 comments   150,071 views
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