all of us need to make more time for fitness. Finding that
time, though, can seem impossible.
if you could wedge that workout in at work? If it sounds
far-fetched (or a great way to get yourself fired), listen up.
James Levine, an obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic, says
Americans donít need to log more time at a gym. Instead,
they need to banish their sedentary ways by incorporating easy
bursts of activity from dawn to dusk.
it NEAT fitness, which stands for non-exercise activity
thermogenesis. In laymanís terms, it means cranking up the
bodyís calorie-burning abilities by weaving in near-constant
movement ó such as standing, walking, even pacing ó at
every opportunity. Becoming a body in motion that stays in
motion could help you burn 500 or more extra calories a day.
Combine that with smart food choices, and we could be well on
our way to reversing the nationís ever-expanding waistline.
Levine said he believes the best place to start is in the
rolling your eyes, you might be guilty of what Levine calls
"1930s thinking, to see employees (and the workplace) as
merely tools of productivity." But "the really cool
companies" ó Google, Yahoo, Apple ó "take the
health and the happiness of their employees seriously,"
not just for altruistic reasons, of course. Itís easier to
keep health costs in line when employees are healthier, and a
healthier workforce is a more productive workforce, he said.
"A healthy workplace is the way of the future."
future might resemble the San Clemente, Calif., headquarters
of Stance, an upscale sock company that tailors its line to
Southern Californiaís snow, skate and surf culture.
Executive Jeff Kearl says the 4-year-old company has spent
more than $100,000 on employee perks such as a basketball
court, a skateboard half-pipe, game tables and showers. A chef
prepares healthful breakfasts and lunches. (On a recent
Friday, employees rolled in to an array of freshly blended
juices and homemade yogurt. Lunch revolved around a crunchy
kale salad.) A gym, personal trainers and classes are coming
not unusual for employees to clear out and head for the beach
(just up the street) when the waves are just right.
may be hard for people to believe, but we have zero
abuse," said Kearl, whose office runs by a "freedom
and accountability" philosophy that loosely translates
as: Just get your work done, OK?
every company is run like Kearlís or will hire the likes of
a Levine to revamp their culture and facilities to make health
and fitness a priority. So we asked Levine to help us come up
with some ideas to try now. For free.
realize all these ideas wonít work for you.
maybe a third of them will. And that would help you meet the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommendation
that adults get at least 150 minutes a week of
"moderate-intensity exercise" ó the equivalent of
walking at a pace of 20 minutes per mile.
OFFICE FURNITURE TO AVOID SITTING AT A DESK ALL DAY
time for a standing desk?
honest, there is debate about whether a standing desk ó in
and of itself ó can help reverse a sedentary lifestyle. But
experts say itís a step in the right direction.
very least, a standing desk can serve as a constant reminder
to weave more activity into our everyday lives, said Dr. James
Levine, an obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic who encourages
businesses to embrace healthier workplaces.
you spend a penny, why not just find an empty box or milk
crate and turn it upside down? Look for opportunities to use
it as a perch to review notes, talk on the phone, sort mail,
etc. Sit only when you need to focus on your computer screen.
This experiment will help spark your own creative solutions to
a more healthful workstation and help you decide whether one
of the following might suit your needs:
1. Got a
treadmill acting like a clothes hanger in your spare bedroom?
Then you could be halfway to a walking desk. Yes, a walking
desk ó a desk that wraps around a treadmill ó is the hot
new corner office accessory. One model on the market is the
TrekDesk, an adjustable-height U-shaped desk that curves
across the front of your treadmill, leaving space for a
laptop, an inbox, a phone and more. Yes, there are cup
holders. Stroll along at a gentle pace ó up to 2 miles an
hour ó while working. Or stand still when you need to focus.
all likelihood, youíll want a workstation that allows you to
stand and sit. UpLift has an extensive line of desks in a
variety of sizes, prices and designs that come with a motor
that will allow you to easily switch back and forth. One we
like is the UpLift 900, priced at $769.
is no object? Check out the Elliptical Machine Office Desk at
Hammacher Schlemmer. Itís ó gulp ó $8,000. Itís
spacious enough to include an area for just standing. Granted,
this is probably more than you want to spend. But it could
inspire you to supplement your home office with a piece of
always a DIY approach: If youíve got the space, you could
use a small coffee table or stool perched atop your existing
work area. Or grab a reclaimed cabinet or armoire and set it
alongside a traditional desk to give you the best of both
worlds. Or just stick with your milk crate! (Just remember
that if you are in earthquake country, you want to make sure
your setup is secure.)
have a standing desk? Care to share your experiences (and
maybe even a picture?) Tweet me @renelynch and use the hashtag