Sedentary day job making your butt big despite your practice? Fight back.

After 1 hour of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat declines by as much as 90%.

In fact, Nilofer Merchant, asserts that "sitting" is the "smoking" of our generation. She shares that we’re averaging 9.3 hours a day of sitting compared to 7.7 hours of sleeping.

That's 17 hours of NOT MOVING.

And we feel it. 

We are tired. We lack stamina. And one study even found that all of this sitting is actually making our butts bigger

Alice Park writes, "The human body is designed to move, and a moving body is a needy body, siphoning off calories to make sure every cell is doing what it’s supposed to do. But even when we’re not exercising, we’re moving and using energy... A body that’s sitting isn’t expending energy, so the signals that normally result in you moving—and which, in turn, burn calories—start to check out, molecularly bored with not being called into duty. Meanwhile, the processes that build up fat get busier."

Sick of your sedentary day job making you fat? Fight back!


Change what you wear to work.

Most office attire acts like a straight jacket.  Suits, ties, skirts and high heels are all designed to keep us sitting, but there are office appropriate changes you can make to the way you dress to make it easier to move. 

Get your pants at REI. Hiking pants are designed to facilitate movement, and yet many just look like a pair of dress pants. The synthetic materials keep you dry if you start to sweat which means you won't smell if you happen to bike to work.

Check out Betabrand. Betabrand is a crowdfunded clothing company that makes clothing for both women and men.  Many of their innovative pieces are designed for an active office lifestyle.  Dress yoga pants, the bike-to-work-jacket (with subtle reflective accents), active blazers and the travel suit are made for professional lifestyles that defy sitting.

Buy your shoes with medical professionals. Alegria started by making shoes for hospital personnel and chefs. But they've expanded to also make men's and women's footwear for the office. The shoes are designed for lots of walking.  They are an investment—typically around $150 a pair—but what they do for your ability to walk long distances in office attire is totally worth it.

Put some bicycle shorts under that skirt. Some types of clothing just makes us move more carefully either because they are fragile or because we don't want to flash someone. Choose things that encourage movement, not restrict it.


Activate your meetings.

Sometimes we have choices in how we approach meetings.

Walk while you talk. A San Francisco architect, once told me I should skip coming to her office and we could meet in Muir Woods.  She asserted we could sit and talk or walk and talk, and she preferred walking. It was one of my favorite meetings ever, and the diversity of scenery encouraged better ideas and prompted a closer relationship. Nilofer Merchant shifted her approach to make the majority of her meetings walking meetings inspired by one where the only time a person could meet was when they walked their dog.

Take that teleconference on the go.  Many teleconferences don't require visuals. For those, call in on your cell phone and start moving. It will likely make you more focused on the content than when you are multitasking and checking your e-mail.

Meet outdoors. Instead of scheduling that next meeting at a Starbucks, why not meet at a park? (You can bring the coffee.) While this strategy won't work everyday because of weather, many days are perfect for breathing fresh air. We simply have to work up a small amount of courage to suggest a less traditional meeting place, and we can always give the client the option of choosing something else.


Make radical changes to your workstation. 

We've all seen—or at least have read about—alternatives to the standard desk configuration.  Here is what is out there:

Standing desks.  Whether you choose a model that raises and lowers, like the Varidesk or IKEA's Skartsta—or you build your own for $22—standing can encourage more movement than sitting.  Want to take it up a notch? Get a Fluidstance Level or a Wobble Board to heighten the challenge.

Balance balls.  Sitting on a ball all day is still sitting, but it will require you to get up more often and use your muscles to sit up straight. The best part is that balance balls are a cheap investment, so if you test drive it and it doesn't work out, you don't lose a lot of cash. (And you can still use the ball for exercise.)

Treadmill desks.  Working at a treadmill desk takes some getting used to but it is the ultimate in staying in motion. Some employers are investing in active workstations for the productivity boost it gives employees.

Want a less radical approach? Just set a timer to tell you to move.  While the Apple Watch and other wearables will signal you to move when you've been sedentary for too long, you don't need anything fancy.  Just set the timer of your phone.  Either get up and walk around the office, or pick up your laptop and move to a different spot.  Give yourself a reason to get up.


Leverage peer pressure. 

There was a time when one of the employees at my firm would ring a cowbell on the hour and everyone would drop and do pushups. A heavy travel schedule made the habit fall away, but for a time, no one was about to remain sitting while everyone else around them was dropping and doing 20. (Even a few vendors and clients who came in for meetings got into this.)

The social component of trackers like FitBit are a huge motivator in driving behavior.  (I once was at a conference where I asked Mike why he wasn't at the afternoon session.  He grinned and said, "Don't tell Andrew. I went for a second run.  I couldn't let him beat me in steps again today.")  Leaderboards engage our competitive side, but even if we don't get that official about it, just having a group of friends engaged in positive action can up our game because we feel accountable.

Vanderbilt research reveals this even works with children.  Those who have friends who are active, increase their fitness level by becoming active too. (The study shows this can also work in reverse.) Don't have any active friends? You may have to sign up for an activity to meet some. While you can enroll in classes at local rec centers, yoga studios and gyms to meet people, you can also check out more directed activities on Meetup—which has a host of groups tailored to almost every interest.


Inspired? Get moving. 

Chances are that if you have a day job that requires a lot of sitting that it is going to take some intention to integrate movement into your day.  The best advice? Just do it.  Do whatever you have to do to get up and add more motion into your day. Who knows? Your butt might just thank you.

© Yogi with a Day JobMaira Gall