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What makes us healthy? Readers respond

November 21, 2011

Last week I talked about the struggle to stay healthy. Everyone knows what to do-exercise, eat right, and sleep- but how many of of us stick to those basic guidelines?

Anyway, I asked readers to tell me how changes in their environment might make it easier to be healthy. Here’s what I heard back.

Craig O’Connor says he’s modified his work space.  He wrote on Facebook “I raised my desk and stand instead of sit. engages muscles, uses more calories.” Here’s a picture-

Craig O'Connor's desk. Photo courtesy Craig O'Connor

Craig says the set-up works this way-

My desk is wall mounted in a cubicle, and it was easy to raise, and since is sectional, there remains a lowered part that I can sit at and work if I want. There are also adjustable height desks to move up and down when you want…It now feels weird to sit while working.

Along the same idea, Dave Sharp told me he really wants a treadmill desk.

Sharyn Morrow/Wikimedia Commons via Flickr and NPR

NPR did a story about the exercise unit a few months ago.

And then for folks who don’t want to stand, perhaps a bicycle desk? This one doesn’t have wheels and slips under your desk.

There were also some suggestions that had nothing to do with desks- more lights outdoors for late night exercising, bike lanes to make it easier to ditch the car. I’ll add a few- grocery stores within walking distance,  nearby parks, basketball hoops, restaurant menus with healthy options, timers that remind you to walk around at work. Any more ideas out there?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Craig O'connor permalink
    November 21, 2011 5:57 pm

    It really has made a difference, not only in feeling like i get a little excercise, but in keeping me more alert. I have thought about treadmill idea. Some folks here at work have sun lights, to reduced effects of seasonal affec tive disorder, and many take walks at lunch time, as part of Shape Up RI.

    • November 21, 2011 5:58 pm

      Thanks for sharing Craig. I’m going to look into getting one of those desk cycle things.

  2. Carole permalink
    November 21, 2011 6:22 pm

    A stability ball instead of a desk chair is also a good health and fittness move. It engages back and abdominal muscles as you work at your desk. It does roll away when you stand up, though, so be careful!

    • November 21, 2011 6:51 pm

      I forgot about this trick! Carcieri’s press secretary used to have one at her desk.

  3. November 21, 2011 6:58 pm

    The issue is that we don’t integrate health – or activities that improve or maintain health – as part of life. People run, or swim or work out…inside. But what happens when we get busy? Those add-ons get dropped.

    Better to integrate health by bicycling for transportation.

    Half of all car trips in America are under three miles – that’s easily reachable by bicycle. In RI, we have miles of bike paths that connect various parts of the state. Every bus has a bike rack on the front. You could take the bus (they are mostly new and clean), get off one mile from work – to start – and ride in. Or just ride to the store and back.

    When you look at obesity trends two facts become clear:
    1, we are sedentary (50% of kids rode or walked to school in the 1970’s, 14% do so now),
    2, we eat more (daily calorie intake has risen from 3,100 cal to over 3,700 cal since 1980)

    We all know that diets rarely work and – even more rarely – work in the long-term. Better to integrate health by bicycling for transportation and getting healthy by burning more calories as part of getting where we are going anyway.

    • November 21, 2011 7:07 pm

      Thanks Durishin! I lived in PVD for about 8 years without a car and did all of my transportation by bike. It’s a little trickier now that I have to drive during the day for interviews across the state. I try to ride to work once a week when I know I’ll just be in the office. Showers at work would make it easier too!

  4. November 21, 2011 10:22 pm

    Ah! Megan, the secrets (not so much after this) to riding in and being socially successful are:

    1). Spin in easily
    2). Cool off (slow down) during the last five minutes of your ride
    3). Wear merino wool as your base layer ~ it is better at wicking than any man-made material and the lanolin content in the (super-soft) wool kills bacteria – so you smell socially successful! The required cold water wash and line dry of the merino is a low energy utilization bonus to the planet.

    Happy cycling!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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