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Breaking away from the desk: Employees find new ways to stay fit at work

“Sitting at a desk is really hard on your body. It’s, you know, we always tell people it’s the easiest thing to do but it’s the hardest on your body.”

COLUMBUS, Ohio — According to the American Heart Association, U.S. adults spend an average of six to eight hours seated.

10TV found a few ways some people in the community are working to change that.

“Sitting at a desk is really hard on your body,” said Dr. Anna Vogel Schneider, co-owner of Columbus Spin and Sports Center. “We always tell people it’s the easiest thing to do but it’s the hardest on your body.”

As a local chiropractor, Dr. Vogel Schneider knows this from working with patients who experience the aches and pains from poor desk posture.

“The more you’re in one position, the more your body is going to think that is your ‘normal,’ she said.

But there are ways Vogel Schneider says, to improve posture at the desk:

  • Tilt the base of the chair forward, if possible, to bring the knees below the hips
  • Make the screen easier to read
  • Bring the keyboard closer to keep shoulders rolled back into a neutral posture
  • Sit near the front of the chair

“Try to make little changes so then in the end, as you do those throughout time, it becomes big changes that are more sustainable,” Vogel Schneider said.

Some office spaces cater to employee health, like the new OhioHealth corporate office near Riverside.

There, employees have the option to stand while they work or workout at the on-site fitness center during breaks.

“I love a lunch-time workout because it provides for the perfect break in your day,” said Mariangee Mereino, a senior marketing manager for OhioHealth. “So like in the morning you hustle, get tons done, and then it gives me like a revitalized energy to finish my day strong and then I feel very productive that I got so much stuff done.”

Merino told 10TV she can take a lunch-hour workout class, meet with a personal trainer or participate in a stretch break from her desk.

“I’m a mom of two young kids and it’s really difficult managing their sports and their life and dinners and so being able to do my workouts here during my lunch hour or in a break, just, it's been remarkable,” she said. “Like for my own stress and time management.”

And while not all offices have access to their own trainers, Dr. Vogel Schneider told 10TV that doesn't have to keep people from moving.

“Having a desk job can make it challenging to get moving during the day but it should not limit you,” she said.

Dr. Vogel Schneider suggests a few tips to get steps in during the day:

  • Use a restroom farther away or on another floor
  • Use the stairs
  • Stand during phone calls
  • Suggest team walking meetings
  • Use a communal office trash can, forcing employees to get up and move to toss things out
  • Use a smart watch to get move alerts or simply use post-it note reminders at the desk

“We should all be able to get our adequate amount of steps in and get plenty of activity during the day,” Dr. Vogel Schneider said.

Learn more about Dr. Vogel Schneider by clicking here.

Read more health and lifestyle tips from OhioHealth by clicking here.

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