Saludos! Today I want to talk about something that many people can probably relate to. I’ve been working in the adult world for about three years now. For so many Americans, myself included, this entails sitting at a desk for approximately 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Occasionally you leave your desk to get some water from the cooler or walk to another building for a meeting, but the majority of your day is spent sitting in front of a computer. This rigidly sedentary way of life can have a shocking effect on one’s metabolism and mood, and I’m no doctor, but I don’t think it’s good for our heart health either. There are probably articles about this, but I’m not going to bother to do the research right now.
Since we can’t all work as fitness instructors and most of us are not independently wealthy without an 8 to 5 job, I have spent some time thinking about creative ways to work through this issue. Let the record show that I have never been nor will I ever be referred to as an athlete. I have short legs, freakishly tiny feet and very little hand-eye coordination or spatial awareness. However, you don’t have to be an athlete to have an active lifestyle. Thus, being active has always been my goal. Husband and I have been going to the gym more recently, and that certainly helps. I push for evening walks, but that becomes a battle once the temperature rises above 85. Costa Ricans don’t deal well with the Texas heat, or at least mine doesn’t. I’m taking a water aerobics class and thinking of returning to yoga as well. But what could I do about the actual sitting for so long so many days a week? It seemed an overwhelming reality that my thighs would continue to expand as long as I remained employed.
Then, inspiration struck. One of my coworkers sits on an exercise ball. She is one of those amazing people that wakes up before the sun to exercise and has already accomplished more by 8am than most of us will do all day. I admire her energy level, so I decided to give it a try. Now every day I come in and fill my coffee mug from the water cooler (coffee must be consumed before I get behind the wheel of a car, so I drink water at work), start up my computer and plop down on my bright purple exercise ball (very gently, of course). Nothing says serious social worker like sitting on a giant plastic ball, right? The first week, I had to take breaks and go back to the regular roll-y chair for a while every couple of hours. Now I can go almost the whole day perched on my new “chair”. I focus on engaging my core and relish the sense of pride I feel in this new venture. I leave feeling like I spent the day building muscle while sitting at my desk. So far, I feel it mostly in my lower back, but I have hopes that eventually I will be able to tighten my abs, too. So the next time you feel sad and hopeless about the sedentary nature of your job, get inspired and try something! If you have an idea and it works for you, please share. My thighs and I would be eternally grateful.