The 40-hour work week and me

Ok, so I started documenting this journey – just had my first full week of this 40-hour a week remote job. I still maintain a handful of clients at the gym, and I use my lunch hour several times a week and time on the weekends to train.

The structure is like this:

  1. Minimize sitting – standing desk (I’ve been doing that for more than 6 years at this point, but in smaller increments. Now, the focus is on making sure the majority of the morning (5 hours) and afternoon (3 hours) are on my feet. I have a couple of thick foam mats that I use for instability training, and I fidget a lot, so I move around a bunch. I also lean against the stool a lot instead of sitting on it.
  2. Posture – your sitting posture and your standing posture are very different things. For me, I’m equally capable of getting a stiff neck in either position, ha ha. For you, it might be worse in one of these, so try to note which is the worse one for you.
  3. Associated with posture is gaze distance – for most of us in the sighted community, we have entrained ourselves to view things at various distances, but our technology screens tend to be within arms’ reach. That’s a short distance to gaze at for hours a day, so I try to take a few seconds as I reset my posture & let my eyes look far out into the distance.
  4. (Man, I totally remember feeling waaaaaaaay too cool for all this ergonomic stuff. Not anymore!)
  5. I have dialed in kettlebell swings as a reasonable exercise FOR ME to do when I take a short break. Kettlebell swings are never a beginner exercise – I had a ton of skepticism about them as suitable for beginners, so I took my time building up connective tissue strength in my shoulder area in particular, and working on my ability to hinge at the hip and swing/snap the kettlebell and….stop it from continuing to swing and breaking a window, etc. If kettlebell swings seem really compelling to you, take it slow and start at a low weight. I took over 2 years to build up to regular use, and there are still days when I can feel something “off” in my right shoulder, so I just stop.
  6. Walking is the easiest, cheapest way to get exercise and commune with nature, both of which are important to healthy human stress response. I try to walk every single day, unless it’s raining/snowing/etc. The short winter days are the biggest challenge, so I’m also shopping around for a used stationary bike.
  7. Hula-hooping is still a thing! Just not so much the last week. I do a mid-tempo bike ride with my heart rate around 140BPM, and I can get up to 125BPM just hula hooping. I can only achieve that walking if I’m walking up steep hills. If I didn’t have a place to do this, that was fairly private, it *might* bother me, but I have decent privacy here. (I don’t know why people feel so conflicted about hula-hooping and trampoline activity. The trampoline even has a place in the no-nonsense world of physical therapy for lymphedema management, and people still feel like they’re goofing off. I’m shaking my head.)
  8. That brings me to my final point. Why exercise? Why make a busy day even busier?
    Your body needs movement. That’s why. If you look at exercise as punishment, as needing to look sexy/cool, or horribly dangerous, or only involving picking up weights over 100 pounds…’re getting caught up in stories. Don’t.
    Exercise feels good and our bodies like it. Hula hooping IS exercise. Going for a walk IS exercise. Skip, dance, whatever. Are you moving? Do you like it? Great, keep doing it, you’re exercising.
  9. I’m optimizing how things went this week & seeing what can be improved for next week. And that’s what I’ll post next weekend….

I’ll keep posting around this theme for another week or so, and then I think I’ll just do a post with the general framework if you wanted to mess around with it yourself.

One thing I won’t do, and am not doing, is tying this to weight loss, for myself or anyone else. Exercise and caloric intake have a relationship, but it’s not the “run until I burned off this muffin” kind of relationship most people still believe in. Exercise is one thing you can do you support your body’s optimal functioning. Nutrition is the one more closely tied to significant weight changes, and exercise simply affects it a bit.

You might wonder why that is – why would I not talk about weight loss? More people would read this blog, right? I don’t care.
If all you did was reduce your food intake, you’d have less mass. Unless you exercise, that lesser mass isn’t much better at keeping you safe, happy, healthy – it’s just less mass. Let’s start thinking about what we are, not what we look like.

Until next time!