Healthy Choices and Professional Peer Pressure

February 13, 2018

Modeling cutting-edge common sense in the workplace


If there is one factor primarily to blame for the obesity, chronic pain, and general fatigue that seem to be epidemic in our Western culture, the “sitting factor” would be the one.  We are taught early in school to sit for long hours so that we can smoothly phase into a grown-up job where we will sit for even longer hours, all to the detriment of the one-and-only body that we have.  If this seems a bit backward to you, join the club.  We work in order to support our lifestyles, but if your work is literally pulling down the quality of your actual physical life then you’ll have to give something up before your body gives out.  No, I’m not suggesting you quit your job, just encouraging creative scheduling along with intentional, healthy choices for healthy workdays – use my client V’s example.




V is a very hard-working, tightly-scheduled college professor, mother of 2, spouse of 1.  For a few years she has been working at getting in better shape and has indeed grown much stronger overall, but in the past summer she really pulled it up a notch.  Looking at where in her schedule she could make room for more movement, she found that a 10-minute bike ride daily to and from work would be feasible one or two days per week.  She set aside six weeks to do some personal training with me and she attended a couple of group exercise classes each week for those six weeks.  Her results were dramatic and demonstrated the value of the increase in activity…but as the six weeks ended and her new school schedule started, the same problem arose.  Going into this semester she had a few time-efficient exercise strategies built into her day- things like one-legged squats in the office and always taking the stairs – but the return of that old familiar hip pain after the first two weeks let her know that the return to more desk time was still a problem to offset.   With the fall conference coming up, V knew she needed to make a plan or 3 days of lectures could turn into 3 weeks of misalignment and pain, besides the fitness lost.  V had worked too hard to get her fitness up and she wasn’t willing to let it go; she ended up not only making a plan to keep herself healthy but also found a way to model healthy and practical professional function.






 Here’s one of the creative things she did:


V examined the entire conference schedule a few days before she left and determined one session each day which seemed least essential.  She then planned a walking meeting with her intern for the same time, complete with agenda and objectives.   V reported that she and her intern both felt not only revitalized in their bodies with this physically-active working style but also that they accomplished a lot of important work in that time.  V chose health and got increased productivity as well.   Now that seems sustainable.  Smart.  Strong.  Strategic.  Of course, to get to this point, V had to release some of her misinformed beliefs about fitness and how they can fit into her very busy life.  She had to embrace the idea that the prioritization of her own health was logical and correct, although her socialization in Western society would suggest otherwise.  She also had to stand apart as a leader, firm in her conviction that her choice was sound and would also benefit her colleague.  

Now that V has found and enjoyed this new level of fitness, no one is going to take this away from her! She is 50 and she’s on fire, looking younger and more agile week by week.  Learning how to make healthy choices is one of the major challenges for all of us, but a little planning can go a long way!




Need help with your busy-life fitness strategy?  Call me today!  269-207-5471

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