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The world isn’t flat. And your butt shouldn’t be either.

I have a desk job, and I’ve noticed over the last few years, my ass has been obtaining that sad phenomena known as “secretary spread”.

It ain’t pretty.

One of my 2015 goals was to be more selfish, and tied to that, I decided to not spend 8+ hours a day with my butt in the seat.  Thankfully, Troy’s aunt got me a Jawbone Up for Christmas, and it has made my efforts very “in my face” if I don’t stay active throughout the day.  Nothing more embarrassing then checking your steps at day’s end, only to see you walked well below your goal.  And ate 15 Milky Way dark fun size candy bars, because dark chocolate is FULL of antioxidants dammit.

You don’t need a Jawbone or a Fitbit or a pedometer to get moving, but personally it keeps me accountable.  For people with an iphone, there is a step counter on there, but the downside is you have to keep your phone on you at all times for it to keep track of your efforts.

My Jawbone is a slightly older model (why it is so much cheaper than the most current options), because it is not linked automatically to my phone via bluetooth.  I have an app on my phone, and I have to plug the Jawbone in to my phone and it updates my dashboard with the steps.  At first I found it annoying, but now it’s about 45 seconds a day.  I think I can spare that to track my steps.  45 seconds for my health.  Sure.

As I mentioned before, I have a desk job and if it weren’t for sheer willpower to get up and move, my butt could stay planted in that seat all day.  Since getting my Jawbone and deciding to be a selfish employee, I have found crazy simple ways to get my move on.

Before reading the list below, please note that I am one of the world’s faster natural walkers.  I’m sure that is statistically accurate.  People routinely will yell “where’s the fire” when I am taking what I assume is a leisurely stroll.  People will tell me “oh I saw you at Target the other day and was going to say hi, but you looked like you were on a mission”.  Nope, just my normal walking.

In high school, my best friend was on our JROTC Orienteering Team.  Yes, we were both nerds.  Thanks for asking.  For those of you who don’t know what orienteering is, it is a mix of cross-country running and navigation courses. So my friend would routinely run 5-10 miles while trying to find “flags” and barely break a sweat.  One time for his birthday, I took him to Seattle for a concert (Creed…what were we thinking?).  After about two hours of walking around, he stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, put his hands on his knees and begged “can we please slow down?  I am exhausted“.

So yes, I am fast.  That’s what she said.

  1. I have a printer in my office, but I now send printing jobs to a copier on my floor, and then I take the long way to get there.
  2. My employer has a few buildings clustered together.  Instead of using inter-office mail, I’ve been getting up to deliver stuff in-person.  And I take the longest route to get there.  My speed walking of the longest routes is everyone’s normal speed on a direct route.
  3. Instead of sending someone an email, I get up and walk over to speak with them face to face if the discussion can be a simple “yes” or “no”.  While taking the longest route on my floor.
  4. Instead of reading during my fake smoke breaks, I get up and take a brisk walk outside of our complex.  Yeah, a lot of times it rains and the weather is meh, but this isn’t the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, and a walk in the crisp air keeps me awake and alert.
  5. If I finish up my lunch, I will some times take a quick walk around the building to avoid the post-meal coma.
  6. If I’m sitting in a long meeting, I’ll get up and stand if it can be done without being disruptive.  This past Monday, I was at an-all day job fair.  When there were no potential applicants in the room, I went and took a fast walk outside of the meeting room.  I went every 3o minutes, and at first, all the other vendors gave me weird looks.  By lunch I had at least two to three other vendors walking with me.  It was great to get up and move, and I had some wonderful two-minute conversations with people I wouldn’t have spoken with had we remained seated behind our tables.
  7. My friend who has a Fitbit holds “walking meetings” with her team, and does performance reviews while strolling with her direct reports.

When I am at home, I try to keep moving and not park myself on the couch (except to write blog posts about how to stay moving.  Obvs).  If my step count is low for the day, I challenge Jack to a dance party, or we run around our fireplace (relax, it doesn’t have a fire going at the time).  I also either do a 30 minute workout video  in the morning via Daily Burn on our Roku, or I ride our stationary bike.  I was so annoyed when after 35 minutes on the bike, my Jawbone would only report 80 steps.  I get that many steps a night just getting up to pee.  I was whining about this one day, when my genius mother-in-law suggested I put it on my ankle.  Now, a 35 minute bike ride gives me almost 5k steps!



The Jawbone will also track your sleep if you activate that feature.  I do use it, but don’t put a ton of stock in it because it says I fall asleep a lot faster than I know I do.  It does however show that I wake up WAY too many times throughout the night, so no freaking wonder I’m always tired.  Troy complains constantly about being tired, so I made him wear it one night and it totally backfired on him because it tracked that he slept over 9 hours while only waking up once.

Vengeance, thy name is Jawbone.

Do you have step counter, or somehow track your movement throughout the day?  Any tips for getting up to move throughout during day even with a desk job?

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34 comments on “The world isn’t flat. And your butt shouldn’t be either.”

  1. We call it “Watering the neighborhood”, but it’s just walking the dogs. I have a Fitbit, & my daughter uses an app on her phone

    • Love that saying! Do you find the app and the Fitbit track the steps about the same?

      During the spring/summer, when it’s actually light out until late in the evening (like 9:30 pm), we go for walks after dinner. We live in a neighborhood with all steep hills, so no matter where we walk, a hill is involved. I’m sure it’s great for getting steps in, but it’s also good for wearing us and Jack out before bed.

  2. I too am suffering in the bootay department. My step daughter who works at a gym and is pretty git suggested stepping g side to side with a exercise band around your ankles. The squishy sides of my butt are in pain today…

  3. This made me LOL. I have started going downstairs at work and then walking the 100 stairs back to my floor once a day. I already do many of the things you are doing but clearly I need to add more! Thanks for the giggle at the end about hubby!

  4. I use a Fitbit One to track my steps. It doesn’t give me much “credit” when I take a 45min strength training class, but there is an option to add activity via their software. It does motivate me to walk more during my work days.

    I work in an office where I sit behind a desk all day. All my meetings are via conference calls and I don’t have any business reason to move from behind my desk all day. To add activity, I do a lap or two around the floor every time I get up to use the bathroom, get a drink or pick something up from the printer. I also go for walks with two coworkers whenever our schedules allow. We try to do a walk mid-morning and one mid-afternoon.

    • The Jawbone lets you put the activity in there too, but the credit was so crappy. I know it sounds weird, but try strapping the Fit Bit on your ankle for the next class and see if you get more steps. And then report back because I’m nosey!

  5. I got a Fitbit exactly one week ago. I want to lose almost 40lbs, and decided that if I PAY (using the last of my Christmas money) for motivation, I might actually stay committed.
    The Jawbone and Fitbit looked pretty much the same to me “on paper” so I went for looks once I saw them in person. I didn’t like the way the Jawbone looked and I do like that I can get new, funky bands for the Fitbit.
    I was disappointed when I spent about two hours roaming around stores last week and it only logged about 300 steps! I guess it doesn’t count meandering. (Hubby says that doesn’t count too.) 🙁
    I am a pretty sedentary person. And I am always excited when I reach my step goal(default-10 000). And if I am close in the evening, I do laps around the house, to the amusement of my kids. I am thinking about ways to increase it. I DO take some kids to and from school, which logs quite a few steps, but I need to come up with ways to get more steps in around the house. Especially on weekends or PA Days.
    What I really like is that I am motivated to keep track of what I eat and I have lost 5 pounds the first week! I know that won’t be a consistent (or safe) weightloss rate, but it sure is inspiring!!!!!

    My daughter walks like you, I think. Whenever we walk together I am huffing and puffing, trying to keep up!

    • That is awesome, and good luck with your weightloss!!

      The Fitbit was too bulky for me, but there are definitely some pretty fun band options out there.

      You should have definitely gotten more steps while roaming the stores. Were you pushing a cart? My MIL’s friend Betty (she reads this blog – hi Betty!) has a Fit Bit and taught my MIL the trick about putting it on your ankle while reading the bike. She puts it on her ankle while grocery shopping because for some reason the Fit Bit doesn’t seem to track steps if your arms don’t appear to be “free” to swing. I know a lot of moms who push strollers get under counted steps with a Fit Bit.

      • (Hi Betty!)
        I wasn’t pushing a cart, but I was really moseying (is that a word?) I got a gift card for Michaels for Christmas (hooray!) and I was looking at every single item(or so it seemed) in the store. At a really leisurely pace. But I was still in motion, taking (technical) steps. I’ll bet you are 100% right about the arm movement. I may do the ankle thing on shopping day. Good thinking, Betty.
        Unfortunately for me, aside from a couple little things at Michaels, the only thing I saw that I WANT is completely useless and regular priced at $30 (so I will use a coupon if I cave). It is a 20″ tall champagne flute! What would I do with it though? If I can answer that, as well as ‘where will I display it?’ I am TOTALLY getting it.
        Any ideas? 😉

  6. Love it! I have found a seldom used staircase in our three story office building. I’ll take a break to run up and down it (it’s easier in flats but kitten heels still work). I can run a “lap” 5 times in 5 minutes, my fitness pal app says it burns 71 calories and it gets my steps up.

    • That is awesome! If you have the space, I keep a spare pair of tennis shoes in my desk for the days I am wearing my tall heels. Its saved me a few times.

  7. I love Daily Burn! May I ask which program you do? Or do you just select whatever suits your mood that day? I’ve been doing Black Fire but haven’t been consistently sticking to the schedule for a few weeks…

    • Isn’t it great for $10 a month? I do a bunch of various programs, and usually decide based on the time I have that morning. If I am taking Jack to daycare, I have time for a 30 minute workout. If Troy is, I can do 45 ish minutes (though I usually ride the bike on those days). I love Judi Brown’s Cardio Blast series, sometimes like Anya’s Butt, Thighs, and Hips (but it honestly makes me feel so incompetent and out of shape that I try not to do it), and Cody Storey’s kettlebell workouts. I have to put Cody on mute because he is SO dumb and I can’t stand listening to him. His 40 min KB workout could easily be 25 minutes if he didn’t treat us like we are as dumb as he is. I wish there was an option to click “I’ve done this one before” so they edit the videos to take out the learning round. With Cody, I had to pause it after realizing I was screaming “no it’s not, we’ve all been to 6th grade” after he said “I know this is a lot of complicated information”. :rant over:

      Also, I just noticed they’ve add pilates videos that are under 30 minutes. I had never done the pilates or yoga because they’re so long, but the 28 minutes of pilates this morning was great!

      Additionally, if you have a yoga ball, look up the “under 20 minutes” option. There is an ab workout with an African American guy and some Australian ab lady. It’s only 12 minutes and seems crazy easy, but the next day I was dying (and I have strong abs). Love that it works so much and is only 12 minutes. I think I said “I didn’t know you could pull your pubic muscle” the next day.

      • I just saw the Pilates today! Going to try that… I have done all those workouts you mentioned (been using Daily Burn for over a year) and agree about Cody’s workouts taking longer than they should. However I do understand why he takes so much time to explain the kettlebell stuff- I know people who have injured themselves by not doing kettlebell stuff properly in crossfit/etc. So I give him a pass- but totally agree there should be 2 versions for those workouts. You may want to try Black Fire- they are under 30 min (~32 with warm up/cool down). HARD but crazy calories. But not as hard as Inferno (which I can’t even sort of do a modified version properly so I quit that)

  8. I had to chuckle about the “frozen tundra” comment as I live in Wisconsin and have been using that as my excuse the past month to not exercise. Had my annual exam today and a big reality check! Time to walk the mall or school and ride the stationary bike that is collecting dust in the family room! Love your blog!

  9. I keep thinking about getting one of the those fancy contraptions but I’m torn. I started running recently and I love the idea of keeping track of my steps, but I also want something that will log my runs and map it through GPS. Only problem is my cheap ass doesn’t want to pay for something like that. Especially considering I would need a heart rate monitor to make the info more accurate. However, the hubby has a foot pod that is linked to his garmin watch so I may just track that way for a bit and see what I see.

    I don’t have an office job, but being home all day with the kiddo I find it hard sometimes to get motivated to get off the couch. Thankfully my friend is doing the Couch-to-5K with me so that helps. I bought the app and LOVE it. We ran this morning (after a week off for a stupid cold) and were happy when we set a new best pace and best distance.

    I might have to share some of your tips with my hubby. He sits at a desk now and HATES it. He gets so tired and has started relying on soda and candy to stay awake during meetings.

    • So, I realize I put my life online, and a I have a phone that can track stuff, but I’m kind of against the map routing thing (if I ran, which I don’t!) because I don’t want something tracking WHERE I am.

      I’m with your husband in that I totally will eat throughout meetings to stay awake. I’m a natural yawner, even if fully rested, so I eat throughout any meeting longer than 1 hour. My long meetings are scheduled ahead of time, so I try to pack healthy snacks like carrot sticks, but man some times I need a Milky Way dark (or 30).

      • I totally get the not wanting people to find you thing. We actually have a dedicated smart phone (that isn’t actually assigned to any carrier so can’t make or receive calls) that the hubby bought for the GPS tracking for when he bikes. Now I use it for running as well, but those are the only two times we have it. Our tablet is the only other device we own that has tracking ability and we have all that stuff shut down (as far as we know).

        Plus, I pity the fool who messes with me. A year and a half of Gracie jiu-jitsu and I’m ready to break some elbows and choke some suckers! *Only kinda kidding. I’d be happy to never have to use the skills, but, it would be cool at the same time to mess someone up if they needed it.

        To be fair to hubby, he does take a baggie of carrots and cauliflower to work every day. He even cuts the cauliflower so he can have some to take to work.

  10. I’m a teacher so I’m always on my feet, but my mom has a desk job. About every hour she will walk the stairs with coworkers or go for a “run.” They change into sneakers and jog in place in an empty office during lunch!

  11. I have to admit, I’m a total slacker at walking each day. I have an iFit my sister-in-law gave me and mostly use the sleep tracker feature. I feel like it doesn’t track my steps accurately.

    Or I could be in hardcore denial mode that I do only truly get around 5,000 steps a day.

    I’m going to use your tips though! Long routes for printers and walks around the parking lot at lunch. Great ideas!

    • If you have an iphone or a friend with another type of tracker, use both for a day to see how close they get to each other. I’ve read some blogs where someone had both a fit bit and a jawbone and the fit bit gave about 1k more steps a day than the jawbone. Maybe yours is underestimating.

      • I don’t know about the Jawbone, but the FitBit has a section where you input the length of your strides (with walking and running) Maybe the stride length isn’t accurate?

  12. I have a desk job, too. I write curriculum, so I am seated for long stretches. I do a lot of the the things you already do, but also I’ve got a timer on my laptop that goes off every 40 minutes, and when it does, I get up and walk around, or do some squats and lunges, etc.

    • That’s great! The Jawbone has a feature where you can set a timer for it to buzz after sitting too long (you set the length of time), but I haven’t figured out how to use it, so I just do my best to remember.

  13. Ha! Yeah I’m with you on the chocolate bar theory, its a super food or something right? Just like extra cheese on pizza means more calcium and chocolate covered strawberries constitute a serving of fruit!
    I would love a jawbone or fitbit but I can’t justify spending the money at the moment. Maybe ill make it painfully clear for my birthday on August 🙂

  14. You are a super – mover, in case you had any doubt!

    Anyway, I just wanted to share that I recently found out that I had “gluteal amnesia” it’s a thing! I was seeing a physiotherapist because I had a tight sore knee for 2 years, and neither the Osteopath or the Chiropractor could fix it. Anyway, the Physio told me that my glutes had stopped activating. I had no idea this was even possible. But apparently it’s quite common, and my quads were overcompensating, thus the imbalance, causing the problem.

    This likely happened because for the last 4 years I’ve had so much travel to do for my job, and little time or energy after all that travel for exercise. AND I was taking it easy on my knees because of the pain, so I avoided stairs, thus making the weakness worse. So, now I have had to make a real effort, and thankfully my daily commute has gone… so my muscles are learning how to work again and the pain is going…

    So that’s my sedentary lifestyle warning story…

  15. Okay, so I don’t have a desk job. I work at a hospital and feel like I do nothing but walk around seeing patients for 12 hours. So why do I only get on average 12,000 steps a day when you sit at a desk and get 16,000? Guess I need to up my game.

  16. Just a thought:

    I read or heard once that we spend our HEALTH earning wealth so that we can spend our WEALTH earning our health back. I am 50 years old and if I could talk to 25 year old me, I would tell her that she is worth the investment (and the time to use) of the bike, or the gym membership or whatever. Staying fit for the HEALTH of it is worth it in the long run. Thus far I am not spending a lot money on a lot of meds or Dr’s visits, but more than I would like. And I have many friends and relatives that sadly cannot say the same.

    So get your Jawbreaker or IWannaThrowAFit and go Nike on your ass….just do it!!!

  17. My husband got me a Vivofit for Christmas, and I’m addicted. If that nasty red bar starts staring up at me while I’m at work I’ll close the door and either march in place or do some high stepping to make it go away. Neurotic? Yep! But it works. I also find myself now going to another floor when I need the ladies’ room. Any way to grab a few more steps.

    My revenge was to get my husband the same band for his (January) birthday. We’re such idiots we now compete each day to see who has more steps. The annoying thing is that while I usually get more steps than him, he is credited with more total miles logged (he’s 5 inches taller than me). And of course being a man (and taller/bigger) he burns WAY more calories.

    So the band itself was a good motivator start, and I love tracking my activity (and hate seeing how I wake up every freakin’ night – THANK YOU, MY DARLING SONS!), but the most effective part of the band for me is trying to beat my husband. Sixteen-thousand + steps yesterday… BOOYAH!

    • I have a vivofit as well & those red bars (they appear when you haven’t moved enough in the last hour) are so annoying!!! I have a desk job as well & if I am really busy with deadlines to meet I often miss my target by a mile & that’s using the colour printer at the other end of the corridor! Will have to try that one about using the loo on another floor – that’s two flights of steps each way.