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Entries in Office (3)

Friday
Jul062012

Five Ways to Stay Warm in a Cold Office

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's hot out. It's one of the hottest summers in quite a while. But while it's melting outside, you may be freezing inside. Of course, getting the office and your co-workers to agree on the ideal inside temperature is unlikely, and getting the building to make a thermometer change is even more unlikely. But you can take matters into your own hands.

Here are some of the best ways to stay warm in those blistering cold offices this summer:

Sweaters, Snuggies, Shawls
We're going to start with the most obvious solution: bring an extra sweater or jacket with you to the office. If that doesn't seem warm enough (which is the case for many!) you can also invest in a wonderfully comfortable Snuggie and keep it at your desk. Snuggies can be found at Target, CVS, and other retailers for $20. You also might want to order the brown version from MySnuggieStore.com, rather than pick up a bright pink or blue one, which is what you'll usually find on store shelves. If you want a more stylish option, a woolen shawl is always a good route and you can use a nice pin to keep it in place. Scarves are also a stylish way to go.

Space Heater
The next option is a bit more aggressive. Yes, many people actually buy space heaters and keep them under their desks for warmth. Hey, what better way to fight blowing cold air than by blowing warm air? You can pick up a space heater for as little as $25. Just make sure to turn it off at night and not to position it near any paper or anything flammable. Also, you might want to check with your office manager to see if they are permitted on premises.

Stairs
Sometimes the only option is to get up and move around. You can go outside, but sometimes the shock of going from cold to hot or vice versa isn't great on the immune system. Instead, get up and walk around the office or up and down the stairs in your office building. Not only will it warm you up, it will give you some time away from the computer screen and your office chair!

Fingerless Gloves, Socks
Of course, you'll have to return to that keyboard soon, and your fingers, as you might know, can suffer the most from the cold air. If you're working on a laptop that gets warm that might help some, but you might actually want to invest in a pair of fingerless gloves. There are plenty of pairs for under $5 on Amazon.com. Also, since you are already at a desk and near a computer, you could also go with a pair of USB heated gloves, which actually heat up your hands. And while you are shopping you might want to pick up a pair of warm socks if you happen to wear sandals or open shoes to the office. Slip on the socks under the desk and no one will ever know!

Hot Coffee
One of the best parts of summer is iced coffee or iced tea, but if you're stuck in a cold office you might be better off getting a mug and filling it up with a hot drink and holding it in your hands.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec052011

Get Up! Sitting Makes You Fat, Research Suggests

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(TEL AVIV, Israel) -- New research gives many of us yet another reason to get up off our desk chairs  and get moving.

The findings, published in Cell Physiology, suggest that the pressure placed in the buttocks and hips from sitting down for too long can generate up to 50 percent more fat in those areas.

Researchers from Tel Aviv University looked at MRI images of muscle tissue in people who had been paralyzed by spinal cord injuries and found that major amounts of fat cells stretched to surround the areas around the muscles that endured pressure from lying or sitting. The researchers then manipulated a group of fat cells to stretch and stay sedentary for long periods of time, representing the time spent sitting or lying down. After two weeks, they found that stretched cells produced nearly 50 percent more liquid fat than regular fat cells.

“These findings indicate that we need to take our cells’ mechanical environment into account as well as pay attention to calories consumed and burned,” Amit Gefen, one of the Tel Aviv researchers, told the U.K.’s Telegraph.

Previous research found that those who were bound to wheelchairs or were bedridden developed abnormal muscle and fat growth in areas of the body where more pressure was placed. But Gefen said this research could also translate to the not so extreme sedentary lifestyle.

Even those who eat well and exercise can suffer the consequences of a bigger butt and waistline if they stay seated for longer periods of time, according to this research. But forgo the exercise and become a couch potato and the results could be worse, Gefen told The Telegraph.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug252011

Five Simple Ways to Stay Healthier at Work

Siri Stafford/Thinkstock(PARK CITY, Utah) -- Spending an average of 40 hours per week at work can be physically and mentally draining, but the workplace can also be unhealthy in other ways as well.

Sitting or standing for long periods of time can cause pain and other adverse effects, and there can also be nutritional traps, such as vending machines, that could contribute to weight gain.

But fitness and nutrition experts say there are numerous things people can do to make their workplaces healthier. The following pages feature simple tips for keeping healthy at work.

Make Desk Area a Mini-Gym


If there's available space, desks and other office furniture can double as exercise equipment.

"Utilize your office furniture," said Leah Britt, a personal trainer and clinical nutritionist at Premier Fitness Camp, a fitness resort in Park City, Utah. "You can do dips using the chair or the edge of the desk. Place your hands on the edge and bend arms to slowly lower yourself about six inches lower than the seat. Then, raise yourself by straightening your arms. Repeat this three times a day for 10 repetitions."

Britt also suggests doing push-ups on the floor or using the desk by leaning against it and pushing yourself away. You can also perform a set of 10 squats about three times a day.

Other ways to turn your workspace into a workout space?

"Keep a small set of dumbbells or resistance bands under your desk," Britt said. "You can use them while you're on the phone."

She also suggests sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair, which will help posture and keep the abdominal muscles tight.

Keep Moving

While sitting at a desk for long periods of time may seem like a good way to stay productive, experts say it's very unhealthy.

"You need to take breaks every hour or two to get up and move," said Luis Feigenbaum, chief of service and director of sports physical therapy at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine. " A lot of low back conditons happen from just sitting for a long period of time. The muscles get weak."

Email and other office technologies are undoubtedly convenient, but delivering messages the old-fashioned way, while it may be more time-consuming, is a much healthier option.

"Delivering messages or packages to people in person is a great way to get in extra steps," said Britt. "It also helps to walk to the furthest bathroom and take the steps more often."

Setting an alarm to remind yourself to get up and walk around is also a simple and effective strategy.

Watch Your Posture

"The number one thing that gets people into trouble as far as a downgrade in their health is their posture," said Feigenbaum.

He noted that certain ergonomic changes can really make a difference:

Sit close to the work station.

Keep monitors at eye level.

Keep the keyboard (or the steering wheel, if the job involves driving) at a level that doesn't require too much reaching and isn't too high or low.

Sit with legs flexed at a 90-degree angle with feet resting comfortably on the floor.

Lift objects with the legs and keep the object close to the body and toward the middle of the trunk.

He also recommends strengthening muscles involved in posture -- including the abdominals, the muscles attached to the back of the spine and the gluteals -- to avoid injury to the muscles of the neck, lower back, arms and legs.

It's important, he said, to maintain a balance between stretching and strengthening muscles.

"When muscles are weakened because of poor posture, what typically occurs is that the opposing or opposite muscle group becomes tight. So the balance comes in making sure that the tight muscles are stretched and the weak muscles become strengthened."

Helpful exercises include shoulder squeezes, back bends, walking, and tightening and contracting the buttocks.

Plan Ahead


The workplace is often full of tasty temptations, such as vending machines and celebratory desserts. While responsibilities at work and at home make it difficult to find time to plan meals and snacks for work, experts strongly recommend it.

It's difficult to avoid hitting the vending machines or indulging in a tasty treat in the office, but it helps to have pre-portioned snacks on hand.

It's also important to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and to keep muscles healthy.

Practice Good Hygiene and Food Safety Techniques


A new survey by the American Dietetic Association found that 62 percent of Americans eat lunch at their desks, 50 percent snack at their desks, and 27 percent eat breakfast at their desks.

Multitasking during lunch is very common, but it can also be dangerous. Experts say lots of hidden bacteria lurk on desktops.

Another way that foodborne illnesses can infiltrate a workplace is by not properly storing food at the proper temperatures.

The American Dietetic Association recommends food be reheated to a temperature of 165 degrees. Thayer suggests having a thermometer on hand to be safe.

If the work area can be kept clean, Britt, the personal trainer and nutritionist, says it's a good idea to eat lunch there.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio