Stay fit at work

For people with a desk job, staying fit can be especially challenging.
Not only do you not burn many calories typing computer keys or sliding around a mouse, but you can actually harm your body as a slave to the desk too long.
Stiff backs, carpal tunnel and creaky necks are just some of the hidden hazards of the white-collar world.
Here are seven tips to stay fit while you’re at your desk job:
1. Set up an open work area – Make sure your space is large enough to have a full range of motion. Arrange frequently used items close enough that you don’t have to strain to reach them.
2. Get a good chair! – With as much time as you’ll spend in your chair, make sure it is comfortable and supports your back properly. Adjust your chair so you can reach your keyboard properly.
3. Laptops – It’s much better for your posture to set your laptop on a desk instead of typing on your lap.
4. Desk – Pick a desk that fits your build and work needs comfortably.
5. Lighting – Proper lighting of your computer monitor and office can greatly reduce strain on your eyes. Center the monitor at a proper distance from your chair and take frequent breaks from staring at the screen. A tip for office lighting is to keep the overhead lights dimmed to avoid glare and use a brighter desk lamp for close-up work.
6. Take stretch breaks – Last, but possibly most important, is to take frequent breaks. Even if it’s just stopping to get up and walk to the drinking fountain, or stand and stretch every 20 minutes, this will help you from becoming overly stiff and help avoid a back strain. Take walks every half hour or hour, or at least stand and stretch.
7. Hold your own office workout – Get little workouts in when you can, whether it’s walking to work instead of driving, walking to lunch or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Stand and do spine twists and toe touches when possible. Find a wall and stretch your calf muscles.
If you really want to take it to an extreme, and you can handle it and the boss will let you, try sitting on an exercise ball while you’re at the computer for some portions of the day. It will work your stomach and back muscles.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at