When I was a reporter, I spent about 70 percent of my time sitting at my desk, making phone calls, taking notes, researching and writing.
Now that I’m a stock analyst, I spend about 95 percent of my time at my desk — and the hours are much, much longer. During earnings season, I pull down 17-hour days.
During those hours, I barely use my body. My legs are useless trunks that get in my way, always needing to shift and silently pleading for attention.
Legs: “Por favor, use me.”
Brain: “Quieres food and nourishment? Silencio.”
My abs are valuable only so much as they hoist me high enough to reach the mouse and keyboard. Given the proper technology, I could be a brain in a jar and get my work done.
Meanwhile, my brain is overjoyed. It gets to draw connections between a drought in India and a technology firm in the U.S. It has to triangulate financial clues and predict the future on incomplete information.
My brain is doing mental acrobatics while my body atrophies.
Welcome to the information age.
In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama talked about the structural shifts in our economy:
In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business.
Understatement, for sure. But if you’re reading this blog post around mid-day, chances are, you’re an information worker. The value of what you produce comes from brain muscle and little else.
Which means, those other muscles need attention in the off hours.
Accepting this new reality, I’m trying as much as possible to choose off-hours activities that involve movement.
Here are some personal guidelines I’m trying to live by. I hope they help you on your journey to get moving!
- Choose activities that get my body moving. Walk as much as possible.
- No going to the movies unless I’ve run three miles that day.
- Saturday is about movement. Running. Skiing. Hiking. No long road trips unless the destination involves something heart-pumping. (Sunday is about 1) church 2) naps and 3) movement.)
- After work, I must do something active. Run errands on foot whenever the weather and geography permits.
- Yoga goal of twice per week. Fit in sun salutations during the day, between conference calls.
- “Vacation” and “relaxation” means having enough time to move. Vacations should involve activity. Beach volleyball replaces laying on the beach.
- Connect with my husband over an easy jog. (And hey, no smart phone interruptions!)
- While on the road: Rising early to hit the hotel gym replaces hair-blow-dry time.
- While on the road: Walk as much as possible at airports. Skip the escalators and moving sidewalks.
Is it enough? I don’t know. I’d love your thoughts and suggestions!