Deskercise: Working and staying fit all at once

Lashale Pugh at her treadmill desk in the Phelps building.

Lashale Pugh at her treadmill desk in the Phelps building.

Lashale Pugh got tired of looking at the barely-touched treadmill in her basement, so she brought it to work.

Now, the exercise equipment is part of her desk in the Phelps Building at YSU.

“I find that I’m actually using it almost every day that I come to my office,” said Pugh, assistant professor of Geography. “The fact that I have to stand on the treadmill to use the computer helps. I find that I stand more than I sit, which is definitely a good thing.”

Pugh, whose treadmill desk allows her to walk and work at the same time, is part of a growing trend to help employees who spend a lot of time behind a desk to do so while also staying fit.

YSU’s Living Well-Employee Wellness Program recently launched a new eight-week Deskercise campaign to help encourage employees to learn to work and exercise all at once. The program, which runs through April 7, gives lists of exercises that can be done while still working, everything from pushing against walls to using office supplies as weights, and suggests one activity every hour during the day.

“We have them using their desks or chairs for a lot of exercises, so it doesn’t have to be an inconvenience at all,” said Alyssa Sansone, an intern in YSU’s Wellness office and a senior majoring in exercise science. Sansone and Carrie Clyde, Wellness coordinator, created the program. Employees log their workplace exercise and have the chance for prizes like gym bags exercise equipment and t-shirts.

“We’re trying to get employees to be more physically active throughout their work day and to increase awareness of the need to move more and sit less,” Clyde said. “By incorporating these small changes throughout their work day, employees will reap big rewards towards their physical fitness and overall health.”

The Mayo Clinic reports that research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity, high blood pressure and blood sugar, increased cholesterol levels, excess body fat cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease. A recent report from CBS even claimed that sitting all day might be doing as much harm as smoking.

Pugh isn’t the only campus employee who is finding healthy ways to work.

John Beshara, university police chief, and Brandy Schumaker, assistant director for Fitness and Facility Operations at the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center, use exercise balls at their desks instead of chairs, which require them to maintain core muscle control and improve posture while sitting. In addition, several employees have desks that allow them to stand while working, including Ken Learman, associate professor of Physical Therapy; Gary Sexton, WYSU director; Kriss Schueller, chair of Computer Science and Information Systems; and Ken Schindler, associate vice president and chief technology officer.

Clyde said standing burns more calories than sitting, is better for circulation, helps to maintain good posture, may help to alleviate back pain, and may reduce chances for repetitive stress injuries.

For more information on the Deskercise campaign, call 330-941-3360.

Tagged with