My Awesome Healthy Office!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Like so many people who work in offices, I’m often stuck at my desk for long stretches of time. I love my job, but I once threw out my back working on a particularly intense grant application that had me chained to my chair for several weeks straight. That’s just not ok!

When I learned that I was lucky enough to be switching offices this summer – to one with a WINDOW!! – I decided that it was time for a makeover.

This is my new office.

Normal enough, right? (And yes, my desk IS always that neat. I’m one of those.) I have some secret weapons, though!

First, my adjustable monitor arm.

This allows me to switch positions easily, so I’m never stuck in the same spot for hours on end. It also swivels and tilts, so I can still view it comfortably when standing (or doing squats, leg lifts, or calf raises).

Next, my balance ball.

I use this as a chair for several hours each day. I’m noticing a change in my core already, and using those muscles helps my back stay loose.

But my favorite secret weapon is my under-desk bike.

I started splitting my lunch hour and devoting 30 minutes to pedaling each day. I close the door, face the window, and read my kindle. When I open the door again, I’m happy, relaxed, and ready to face the rest of the day.

Everyone needs a pair of sneakers in the drawer, to take walks around the neighborhood when the weather is nice!

The area around my building is being completely revamped, so it’s fun to explore and see the changes in the neighborhood.

I invested in a mini fridge last fall, and it was a fantastic decision.

Not only is it convenient, it ensures that I have healthy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks ready to go at all times. I barely run to the deli across the street anymore, because it’s hard to justify when lunch is right there in the fridge. I also keep almonds and wheat crackers in my desk, for those days when I'm starving between meals.

Then, because I like to “spread the spark,” I keep track of my workouts on my white board. I usually note the current exercise streak as well.

(Admittedly, this is last week… between thunderstorms and a sick toddler, this one hasn’t been my best ever.) It’s an awesome way to get people talking about their own workouts – there are a TON of runners in my office – and to cheer each other on. Plus, I notice that when I have a good streak going AND I have it posted, I'm hesitant to break it.

It's been almost a month already, and I've been so much happier since I moved! The natural light, plants, and extra exercises all combine to melt the stress away.

I've been breaking my day up into 90 minute focused work sessions, followed by a few minutes of stretches or walking around the office, and I've noticed that it prevents me from getting derailed (since my next break is always within sight) and gives me something to look forward to (since I reward myself with a little action during those breaks).

I've noticed that I've been incredibly productive in the last month -- I'm within sight of being current on my to-do list. That just doesn't happen in my job, so it's pretty amazing!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • QUAIL75
    This is awesome! I have a healthy snack drawer and keep lots of yogurt and other healthy snacks in the office fridge. I'm working on keeping my desk neat! emoticon
    3227 days ago
    A quick update, two months later:

    Whether it's having all of these tricks up my sleeve or just keeping health and fitness on my mind, this is definitely working!

    I'm down 4 lbs from July 1st, and have lost inches from my waist, hips and thighs. YAAAAAAY!!!

    I think I've started a trend in my department too, as a few people are now sitting on balance balls and one person even bought a mini-elliptical!
    3228 days ago
    emoticon Love all the ideas!!! Thanks so much for sharing. I also keep healthy snacks at my desk & in the fridge. Helps to keep me away from the vending machine! :-)
    3284 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11216195
    I love the sneakers in the drawer!! They need their own label!! LOL

    And I actually love sitting on my balance ball. It's squishy and comfy!!

    Great blog!! emoticon
    3285 days ago
    I'm impressed! I am retired now but I NEVER had a neat desk, never. It use to drive everyone crazy, so yours is inspiring. I love all of your hints and even though I am retired there are times I have to sit at the computer a lot and I am going to use some of your ideas. Thank you, I have also added you as a friend as you are so inspiring! emoticon
    3287 days ago
    What a great, multileveled approach to making your office work for you!
    3287 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12184389
    This looks like an amazing idea! :)
    3287 days ago
    Love this...making me wish I had an office at work to do this with!!!
    3288 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8753546
    That is so awesome-I love it!!! Way to go-you are a great role model!
    3288 days ago
    Thanks, everyone!

    I've been so happy -- and productive -- in my new space, I wanted to share! emoticon
    3288 days ago
    That just goes to show that we all need to keep trying new things till we find something that sticks. Good job on staying strong and figuring it out.
    3289 days ago
    I've wondered about getting an under the desk bike. I'm a teacher, but I have small groups all day (special ed) so I'm stuck sitting more than I'd like. I sometimes take a walk during lunch, but many days it's either too hot or too cold. As an alternative I walk the halls. I may look into a bike though. I could squeeze in a few minutes here and there throughout the day. Great blog!
    3289 days ago
    You ROCK! emoticon
    3289 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3289 days ago
  • IRP1114
    Awesome :-)! That is a great strategy Susi!!! No excuses of a desk job here! Love it! And your space does look relaxing. Neat and relaxing work space does wonders for productivity. Can't wait for this little rough patch to pass for you so you can be 100% refocused on training for that half!

    Way to go sharing your tips! I am sure many will find this blog super helpful :-)! emoticon emoticon
    3289 days ago
    YAAAAAAY I'm SO proud of you!

    This has to be one of the BEST BEST blogs EVER! I super-thumbs-upped it!

    Excellent work! Thanks for SHOWING your story and spreading the spark!

    3289 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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