Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Death By Desk: the slow demise of a freelancer

Winter, plus a desk job, equals a much unhealthier me. Although I'm a keen cyclist, I'm also keen to make more of my career and the only thing that could tear me away from being attached to my desk for 8+ hours previously was the prospect of going for a cycle ride in the sunshine. Now that's gone and been replaced with grey winter skies, I'm even less inclined to leave the comfort of my office chair.

Sadly, the reality of it is that if I don't get up and do some form of exercise, I will die sooner. Apparently. I particularly like this headline that Forbes ran: 'How To Stop Your Office Chair From Killing You'. It's just sensational enough and has caused me to view my own office chair in a homicidal light that I'd previously overlooked. How foolish of me. Everybody knows is was the chair, in the office whodunit.

Part of the problem is that it's ale season. Where in the summer months I was drinking light and cheery Pimms or G'n'T, now I'm indulging in frothy, filling ales. It's wonderful, it really is, apart from the fact that it's ale. And I'm not exercising as much. It doesn't take a genius to work out how "jolly" I must be looking at this time of year.

I'm a total desk jockey. Despite knowing it's bad for me, there will be days when I don't even leave the house. The furthest I move is from office, to kitchen, to living room and back again. They're all on the same floor, so there isn't even any climbing of stairs involved. This is very much an area of being a work from home freelancer that I hate.

For all of the stress it caused me, there was one great thing about working in the high school all those months ago: it got me out of the house and I was mainly working with the PE department, so I was super active every day. There are loads of naff sounding desk exercises I could do, but none of them really appear to be what I'd call "exercise". Stretching and flexing my feet or whatever is. If I'm going to exercise then that means getting the heart rate going.

With the view that I'd be writing this blog this evening, I did manage to persuade myself to go for a walk around the park on my lunch break. That kind of helped appease my concern about being slowly murdered by my office chair. Tomorrow I'm planning on going to a pilates class and on Thursday and Saturday I promise to go cycling. Will this be enough to offset my sitting? One can only hope that cycling in the cold will help to decrease my "jolliness". I'm confident that in many ways, it will.

Had a few useful suggestions from friends on Facebook, so thought I'd share them here too, so you can make sure of them too.

Emily - also a writer - suggested the little and often approach. Try doing 10 mins of an activity like jogging, skipping, pilates, on the exercise bike each weekday. At the weekend do a bigger get out of the house activity. The beauty, as Emily says, is that you can really fit this in around your work schedule each day.

Gym-bunny friend Harriet - has a desk job - recommends hitting up You Tube for some short, power bursting exercise vids. Specifically she suggested the channel 'Fitness Blender' (sound violent!) as they do short routines that are ideal for home.

Any other good ideas, feel free to post them below and I'll put them up for others to benefit from too.

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