Health & Fitness

Jim Silva: Workplace tweaks can boost health

I recently read a quote from ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes on Twitter: “Sitting is the new smoking.”

The quote came up during a recent conversation with some colleagues at a work conference.

One colleague mentioned that she sometimes winds up working 12 hours with barely a break.

For those of us with desk jobs, sitting is indeed the new smoking. We know it’s bad for us, yet we do it anyway, ignoring the detrimental effects.

A recent Bee Healthy column in The Bee discussed this topic.

Pat Noonan, a diabetes educator at Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, offered some great tips about how to be more active, especially when you get home from work or on the weekends.

Technology can help, with electronic activity trackers – like the Fitbit or Nike+ FuelBand. But the main culprit of our sitting is the workplace. Here are some simple tips I came up with to help you get up and get moving.

▪ Join a walking group. Or start one. Spend your breaks walking to get the circulation going. If your office has stairs, then use those. Or best yet, get outside and get some fresh air. One added benefit of a walking group is socialization with colleagues. Short walks also help clear your head and make you more productive in your job.

▪ Standing meetings. Take the chairs out of your meeting room. Not only will this get you up off your butt, it will make your meetings more effective. If you’re legs are getting tired, you will get to the point and avoid the rambling that often goes on during sit-down meetings.

▪ Drink more … water, that is. Take a water bottle to work and drink a lot. Not only is hydrating great for your body, it also forces you to get up and walk. Why? More water consumption results in more bathroom breaks. Enough said.

▪ Move stuff. Move your trash bin to the other side of the room. Put the coffee pot on another floor. Anything that you do occasionally at your desk – like throwing the trash or pouring a cup of coffee – can be done away from your desk and require you to move.

Another bump on the road

Two weeks ago I wrote about some muscle pain I had encountered. That is gone, but as always there is more than one “bump on the road” to the marathon. After my longest training run yet – 18 miles – I started feeling pretty drained. Then the scratchy throat ensued and soon I was sneezing and congested.

I’m hoping this little cold will remain little. Marathon training can take its toll on your body and can do a number on your immune system. Colds are not uncommon, especially during the winter months. I can still run as long as the congestion stays out of my chest, but I must get enough rest or I will have to miss more training. Skipping one or two training runs won’t hurt too much in the long run, but any more than that will prove costly as I prepare for the Surgical Artisty Modesto Marathon on March 29.

Team in Training sign-ups

If you’ve followed my column for a while you know that I’ve run two of my three marathons with Team in Training. They’ve been two of the best experiences of my life.

If you’re interesting in learning more about TNT, the local chapter of Team in Training is holding sign-ups. The formal kickoff of the next season will be Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Modesto Centre Plaza in downtown Modesto.

Sign-ups and more information are available online at A free information meeting will be held at 6 p.m., immediately preceding the kickoff at Modesto Centre Plaza.

Participants in the Northern San Joaquin Valley chapter – which serves Stanislaus, San Joaquin and northern Merced counties – will train to run and/or walk the Disneyland Tinker Bell Half Marathon on May 10, the San Diego Rock ’n’ Roll marathon or half-marathon on May 31, or the Seattle Rock ’n’ Rock marathon or half-marathon on June 13.

The bicycle team will train for America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, to be held June 7 in South Lake Tahoe. Triathletes will be training to swim, bicycle and run the Bass Lake Classic on May 30.

Team in Training also has a Moms in Training team whose participants will train for either a 5K or a half marathon relay as part of the Modesto Marathon on March 29. This team, open to all men and women, trains on the Virginia Corridor in Modesto and participants are welcome to bring their babies in strollers.

If you’re interested, check out the info meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday!

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