Got a desk job? Move it! (Not the desk, dummy, yourself!)

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

After sitting on my derriere for about 8 hours today, I came across this unsettling news:

Dallas – July 7, 2014 – Cardiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center found that sedentary behaviors may lower cardiorespiratory fitness levels. New evidence suggests that two hours of sedentary behavior can be just as harmful as 20 minutes of exercise is beneficial.

Yarg! Time to pace around the office.

Pace. Pace. Pace.

OK, now what? Since I don't have Google glasses, I guess I'll return to my computer and my comfy deep-vein-thrombosis generator, formerly known as my desk chair. Herman Miller though it is, it apparently won't be keeping the grim reaper at bay. At least I'll perish in an ergonomically correct position At the funeral, everyone can comment about how wonderful my posture was…until the end.

But wait! There must be something we desk workers can do. Scanning past the academic details (c'mon, you do it too)…2,223 participants… low levels of energy expenditure activities… determinant of cardiorespiratory fitness… submaximal treadmill test…Mary had a little lamb…I find what I'm looking for, solutions.

Dr. Jacquelyn Kulinski, a recent graduate from the UT Southwestern Cardiology Fellowship Training Program and first author of the paper, suggests that you don't just sit at your desk like a piece of clay.

Her suggestions:

Shift positions frequently; get up and stretch in the middle of a thought [or possibly at the end of a thought; but that’s our thought intruding on her thought]; pace while on a phone call, host walking meetings or even fidget.

You also could get a standing desk or a treadmill desk (see photo). Like that's going to happen! They're already laughing about that requisition request in the back office.

So you'll probably have to make do with some cheaper ideas: Brief hip-hop dancing, say top of the hour. Standing jumping jacks. Tai chi. Yoga. Tumbling. Juggling. Reciting poetry with arm flourishes. Your moves will depend upon your personal style.

But excuse me, I'm taking the dog for a walk.

(You can find this study, “Association Between Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Accelerometer-Derived Physical Activity and Sedentary Time in the General Population”, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.)



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