a designer’s lifestyle

This is a post I made for the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada tonight, and I am reposting it here because I think it might be of interest to anyone who works a desk job.
How do you balance the sit-at-desk nature of design work with the need for physical activity in your day-to-day life?
Personally, I go for walks at lunch, and sometimes I’ll do the 4 kilometer walk home. If I’m lucky, I’ll get some tennis in – but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of time for that. I used to take intermittent breaks and do 20 pushups at a time and get back to work. Of course, not every office space allows for this, and it doesn’t really seem appropriate for the workplace in retrospect. Still, how can I regret getting that exercise?
If the interface from the Minority Report because a reality soon, we could strap weights to our arms and get a decent upper body workout while working. That would be awesome. Maybe we could hook up treadmill-like devices for scrolling up and down. The point I am trying to make here is this: if we are going to be spending all our time designing, shouldn’t we be looking at ways for it to actually *be* incidentally good for us? With the rise in popularity of gesture-based input systems, I can see benefits arising from some integration with design applications.
If you’re a software maker, are you thinking about this opportunity? I’m looking at you, Adobe.
If you’re an employer, are you encouraging your employees to get physical activity? I worked at a company a few years back that offered an extra 30 minutes added on to lunch specifically for physical activity. I found the policy added a little endorphins to the middle of the day and the benefit afterwards was increased productivity. Kick that lethargy to the curb.
As usual, comments, questions, opinions, criticisms, recommendations, tips and tricks are all encouraged. What are you doing to achieve balance between the nature of desk work and the need for physical activity? What are you not doing that you would really like to be doing?

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  1. Great article Davin!
    I sit at a computer all day for work, so I know what you mean!
    Most of all, I try to go do something active on the weekends, whether it is snowboarding or surfing.
    During the day, I try to take a walk at lunch as well.
    I also stand up a few times during the day and make sure I stretch and walk around a bit. I try to do arm and wrist exercises to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.
    My new company isn’t as pro-activity as some of the video game companies I’ve worked at… where we’d do yoga or floor hockey at lunch etc.

  2. When I was working I found this a problem too. The worst was when you realized you were slouching so badly in your chair that your head was actually resting on the top of your back support.
    I tried yoga at lunch, great. Yoga is great anytime. Walks downtown were also great, but I think it’s healthy to just get up every 20 minutes and do a lap around the office – at the very least. (We had a big office.)
    Yeah, looking forward to getting back to the machine…..

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