My day job used to be my dream job. I was a reporter for an acclaimed national newspaper in Washington, D.C., creating a difference in people’s lives and touching readers around the globe.
My day started at 4:30 a.m. and frequently ended 14 hours later. For most of that time, I didn’t budge from my seat. As news stories broke, I had been in charge of getting first iterations up online as other reporters and sources called me with leads. To move was to miss something: a shooting, a bombing, an earthquake, an overturned truck spilling pineapples to the Beltway, a baby-panda birth. I had to stay put.
For hours on end, only my fingers moved. I barely drank anything for fear of having to use the bathroom. My posture and energy suffered. And over time, my dream job was a nightmare, affecting my health insurance and my outlook on life.
After hours, I worked out as hard as I could, however it didn’t counter my daytime routine. We humans are created to move, and my mobility and energy were limited by my insufficient consistent activity.
When I relocated to Minnesota to become listed on the Experience Life team, I met new colleagues who walked the talk from the magazine, seeking out ways to keep up with the integrity of our journalism without compromising our own wellness in the process.
I was inspired — willing and able to follow the lead of my peers. However i struggled to fit in. The go-go-go lifestyle turns into a habit. And, like all habits, it’s difficult to break. I filled my early days at EL with work that wasn’t needed or expected of me, and that i quickly found myself deskbound all night on end. When I realized that I had been falling into old ways in which I had hoped to leave behind, I knew I desired a change.
My new colleagues, whether or not they realized it or not, found my rescue. They invited me to join them for midday walks. They periodically popped into my cube for exercise demos. They forced me from my habitual work patterns. I’m not just a better version of myself for it — I’m a better employee.
Holding anyone position for long periods doesn’t do us any favors. Now i keep a kettlebell at my desk for impromptu swings along with a sticky note on my laptop having a list of my favorite stretches to unglue my shoulders, back, and hips from my seated position. I am going for walks around the neighborhood and hydrate when needed; I no longer fear what I might miss if I step away.
My work is not a matter of life and death, but my health ultimately is. So is yours.
Read “Workday Workouts” with many suggestions for moving your body throughout a busy day. While editing the article, I had the opportunity to chat with a handful of my favorite fitness professionals regarding their techniques for fitting activity into every day, all day. (Yes, even personal trainers don’t naturally spend their entire days moving.) Here are my favorite inspiring quotes from them to help you put that advice to use:
“Determine what you want to do. The truth is that there's not one single approach that works for every person, even those who are going after the same goals. The entry ways to fitness are numerous, so treat it like you’re at a buffet: Where do you want to start? Consistency is the key to everything; it’s easy to show up to an activity you really like doing (or don’t actively hate).”
— Jennifer Blake, NASM-CPT, RKC-II, Life Time personal trainer and powerlifting coach
“Be accountable. Produce a plan, write it down, and share it with someone. Put around you people who will motivate you to be the best you. You are a reflection from the company you keep, so have people around you who support your objectives and goals.”
— David Freeman, NASM-PES, OPEX CCP, national manager of Alpha Training at Life Time
“Value frequency and consistency over difficulty. The task is always time and the belief that if something isn't challenging, it’s not worthwhile. This overlooks the fact that a walk versus a run can produce significant health benefits, for example. Take the stairs; get up and move every hour to interrupt up the day.”
— Jeff Rosga, NASM- CPT, CES, PES, BCS, senior director at Life span Academy