WordPress powers 25% of the internet and the professionals that are behind that number work hard. For many high-tech workers, their jobs require them to be chained to computer screens for long work days.
“Today, the average office worker sits for about 10 hours, first all those hours in front of the computer, plowing through e-mails, making calls or writing proposals — and eating lunch. And then all those hours of sitting in front of the TV or surfing the Web at home.” The Washington Post
I went to the WordCamp Rhode Island 2015 conference where I knew I would find plenty of talented, hardworking screen-slaves to ask the simple question: “How do you exercise to stay healthy while you work hard at your job?” Here are some surprising and interesting answers, in their words…
Paul: So a lot of you are probably asking – what is WordPress and how do I know that it’s even important to me? So I have here, Jennifer who is one of the organizers of WordCamp Rhode Island and I will have her tell you in her own words. Hi Jennifer!
Jennifer: Hi thank you so much for putting this together. It’s awesome!
WordPress is a content management system and it powers amazingly enough, I think the last statistic I heard was 33 to 34% of all websites on the World Wide Web. And the thing that drew me into WordPress and to organizing a WordCamp Event like this where all kinds of WordPress users from every walk of life, every age group basically anyone anywhere that has ever touched a blog or a website or an online survey or anything related to WordPress, comes here to kind of geek out about WordPress and learn and share information.
I will tell you some of my background. I am a professional certified project manager. I work for Linchpin. Our URL is www.linchpin.agency and we got involved this year myself and our co-organizer Aaron Ware, to really just to lend a hand and give back to the community that basically supports and gives us our livelihood. We are, I would say, a 95% WordPress-based shop. We have about 11 employees and they are all here to lend a hand and they are all passionate about WordPress. So that’s the scoop.
Paul: Awesome! Well if you have any more questions about WordPress or about Linchpin I will put links in the show notes. Jennifer has been doing a wonderful job organizing and pulling this all together so thank you very much.
WordCamp Rhode Island, 2015 website
WordPress Rhode Island Meetup Group
Learn About WordPress
Solutions Consultant Oomph Inc.
Technology crackerjack, pop-culture heavy-hitter, musician, movie quoter, and morning-person. Yup!
Paul: I am here in another hallway with Adam Lamagna.
Adam: Lamagna just like lasagna.
Paul: Excellent. And Adam is kind of interesting because he is a young handsome gentleman.
Adam: Thank you Paul!
Paul: He is in excellent shape but I think I found a crack in his façade here. So I am just going to hand it over to Adam.
Adam: Awesome! Hi guys. Yeah. I am Adam Lamagna, sounds like lasagna. I am a solutions consultant for Oomph and that is what I do. I sell web projects for Oomph.
Paul: Excellent. Can you give me an idea of what an average day is for you and how you get exercise?
Adam: Sure, sure yes. So I get up pretty early in the morning and I am sitting from I would say 7:00 AM to about 5[pm]. I want to get up for lunch. I might play some ping-pong at the office a couple of times during the day and then when I get home I am sitting either watching TV or still working and about 8 o’clock I will go to the gym and I will do some weightlifting sessions and I will either be on the treadmill or on the bicycle machine.
Paul: That’s great! How many times a week do you think you do that?
Adam: Pretty much I do it at least five days out of the week.
Paul: Yeah, that’s great. Well you are doing better than me. But there is a problem. There have been some scientific studies and I will try and find them and link to them in the show notes but there has been some scientific studies that suggest that even going to exercise once a day several times a week and working hard and getting cardio and all of that sort of stuff, although it’s good for you, the sitting 8-10 hours or even more hours a day is bad and it is killing you.
And so what the studies suggest is that even standing at the very least but if you can do it a walking desk is even better because you are moving all the time and our bodies really are meant for moving.
Adam: So I am not going to dispute that. I totally agree with you because I have been doing this. Ever since I have been working, sitting at a desk job, I used to do construction before about three years ago, I was in great shape, great shape as I was moving all the time. Ever since I have been sitting which has been for about the last three years, I have noticed that I don’t have my six-pack anymore and I’ve got a little tiny…
Paul: A little insulation in there.
Adam: A little insulation, right. And I go to the gym all of the time and I can’t get rid of that and I believe it is because I have lived this sedentary lifestyle where I am sitting all day long and so I am definitely up for trying either standing desk or doing some kind of treadmill. I think it might take a while for me to get used to.
Paul: You might surprise yourself. The other thing is I am getting ready to publish a big blog post on how to get 10,000 steps a day while you work and even simple things like if you have a meeting with maybe two people, instead of sitting around or going to the boardroom, go for a walk.
Adam: That’s not a bad idea.
Paul: And if you are working on a problem that you are trying to figure out or an idea, go for a walk with your phone. Use the Siri or just record notes on things that you are trying to figure out because Steve Jobs did this. He used to go for walks and think. Charles Darwin used to do this, Beethoven used to do this and so Adam I’m I think you are in that stratosphere of those three guys.
Adam: Paul thank you very much. I don’t know if I am looped in there but thank you I appreciate it. So those are fantastic ideas and I love what you say about if you in a meeting, take a walk, that’s something kind of unique and that might even send out in sales because I essentially do sales. I will absolutely try that Paul thank you. And make sure you send me that blog post when you have it because I will definitely check it out.
Paul: I will try to link to it in this show notes. Thank you very much Adam, have a great day.
Adam: Thank you Paul.
Here is the article mentioned in the interview and more supporting information about sitting and your health.
The New York Times: “Sit Less, Live Longer?”
Washington Post: “Health experts have figured out how much time you should sit each day.”
You can download the Infographic as a PDF here.
Photographer + designer who codes
Photographer + designer who codes @automattic / @jetpack.
Dedicated to pushing innovation on the web. Continuously vibrating at 528hz. Life Enthusiast. ॐ
Paul: So I’m standing here in a hallway trying to avoid a whole bunch of noise with Jeff and Jeff has a really interesting story. Why don’t we just start off by having you tell us your name, what you do and what your average day is?
Jeff: Hey everyone, my name is Jeff Golenski. I am a designer and front-end engineer for a company called Automattic; makers of WordPress.com and more, specifically I am the design on the jetpack team which is a free WordPress plug-in. Check it out if you are a WordPress user. So typically every day I wake up probably around 10 AM, I am not a morning person, these things happen, and I have a hard time like many, finding time in my busy day to get any exercise that my body and my mind needs.
So what I have recently done is I have converted to a standup and a treadmill desk combination. So every morning I work a little bit in the morning sitting down but after about an hour I get enough energy I will lift the standing desk from sitting position and I will hop on the treadmill and I would walk most of my work day. So at the end of a given day I will walk between eight and 10 miles while I am actually working, while I am designing; illustrator, Photoshop, sketch and then while I am even coding. So throughout the day I get my workout while I am working so there is no need to go to the gym after that unless I want some more excessive work out but it usually works that way.
Paul: That’s awesome! You are a brother from another mother because this is what I have discovered too, it just transforms your life, transforms your body. That’s awesome. I think you were telling me a couple of minutes ago about another thing that you do which, I downloaded the app right away because I thought it was just the most wonderful thing you could do. So why don’t you tell us about it?
Jeff: So there is an application you can download for your iPhone, I am not sure if there is android just yet but there is an app called Charity Miles. And this is an amazing app if you are a runner or a cyclist I urge you to download this app.
And what it does is pretty much you get to pick a charity of your choice and then Charity Miles will use your GPS signal or the sensor on your phone and track your mileage. Now you if you are a runner, there is a company that will sponsor you through Charity Miles, it changes often, but they would donate if you are a runner, it is $.25 per mile that’s tracked and if you are a cyclist, that’s $.10 per mile.
So after work you can go out for a run. If you ran 5 miles, that will generate a $1.25 for whatever charity you choose; there is like a dozen or two on the list. Recently they have updated so you can now do it on a treadmill. So what I will do is I will set it up, turn it on, put it in my pocket and then I will walk either 10 miles and while I am doing that, while I am working, I am generating some revenue for a charity of my choosing.
Paul: That is so awesome. I am going to put a link to the app in the show notes and as I said I have downloaded the app and I’m going to be using it on a daily basis because this year I am targeting about 3500 miles so I can’t do the math in my head but I am sure this a couple of bucks, so that’s wonderful Jeff. Thank you so much for sharing. It doesn’t sound like you have any issues with getting exercise while you work and it’s great to see that you are working hard and getting lots of exercise too so thank you.
Jeff: Thank you.
Simply turn on the app, choose a charity, and press start. As you exercise, we’ll track your distance and the money earned.
Charity Miles Social
Charity Miles on Facebook
Charity Miles on Twitter
Charity Miles Apps
Charity Miles iPhone App
Charity Miles Android App
Jeff and I have started a Charity Miles Group for Office Walkers. In the Charity Miles app go to GROUPS and search for “walkingATwork” we would love to have you join us to walk and earn money for our favorite charities.
WordPress theme developer + evangelist
I run the Seacoast NH WordPress meetup.
I sneeze loudly, love roller coasters, and have a bit of a prime number fetish.
Paul: So I am sitting here with Amanda and I just overheard her talking about the fact that she skipped the gym to come to WordCamp Rhode Island and so of course that initiated the conversation. So why do we continue it on the podcast and everybody can learn?
So Amanda welcome and want to tell us a little about yourself?
Amanda: Hi, thanks for having me Paul. I am a WordPress theme developer. I work for myself so I essentially an IT consultant but WordPress has taken over more and more of what I do. I live up in New Hampshire and I also run a WordPress meet up.
Paul: Where can people find you?
Amanda: People if they are looking for me online, they can find me on my website www.amadagiles.com or you can find me on twitter at @amandagilesnh.
Paul: Excellent so won’t you tell us what your workday is like because I know you work hard.
Amanda: I try. My workday, I usually work from home and my work routine actually, I am trying to get in better shape so my work routine right now is that Monday’s, Wednesdays and I go Fridays to a kettle Bell gym and I have a training appointment right at 8 AM and so I go and do that first thing those mornings and then I come back and then I try to get to work and cram in as much work as I can. It’s a struggle sometimes making that transition though between the two.
Paul: Absolutely. So you don’t know me and you don’t know what I do but I was kind of in that situation too and a lot of my listeners know. But my issue as I kept trying to go to the gym. I would schedule it and then something would always come up and I would say, “Oh, I will do it tomorrow” or “I will do it next week” and I would never go. So for me the big thing was just saying – stuff it, quit. I am not going to the gym anymore. And what I did instead was I found ways in everything I did to get exercise. So for example do you have dogs?
Paul: Well you can take a pretend dog for a walk in the morning. In fact I find it’s really helpful to go for a 20 minute walk in the morning because it allows you to kind of clear your head and get out of the media world that’s in our houses and allows you to really kind of prioritize what you need to do because I find a lot of the times during the day I would go downstairs, I will go to work because you have to do XYZ and then I get half way through and go – oh, that was dumb. I should’ve done F, G and Z. So I find a walk in the morning is very useful for kind of prioritizing and figuring out what works. So that’s very simple thing you can do.
The other thing that I have discovered is I have a lot of back issues and sitting kills me and there is some science to the idea that if you workout which you obviously do, on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays or whatever it was, that’s wonderful but if you are setting for the next 12 hours several times a day it’s slowly killing you. So standing desk or something.
Amanda: Yeah, it’s funny you should mention that because I have actually had my eye on a standing desk and so I kind of waiting for a month when I feel a little more flush. But I was lucky, I was at a client’s office last week and they just moved to a brand-new building and they had always had tabletop standing desks, although I didn’t have one at my desk being a contractor but in their new office all of the desks in the offices are standing desks and there is just too little buttons on the edge of the desks and you do it up and down so I actually just spent the afternoon put the desk up, just totally forgot about it in the morning.
I used the buttons to put it down so that I wasn’t hurting my wrist but then I was like, “I can go the other direction.” So I put it up and it was great. I put Spotify on my headphones and I took off my shoes because they weren’t good standing shoes and I basically just walked out for a couple of hours just kind of dancing when I was working and yeah, it’s perfect so I am looking forward to getting one.
Paul: Awesome. So it sounds like you’re on the path. The other thing that I suggested, just small things and for people who work at home, we don’t have a lot of distance to cover going to the bathroom or something like that but one of the things we can do is when we are on a conference call just pace around.
You can get a couple of dozen steps in a minute just pacing around and talking and since you are moving and blood is flowing through your brain and you’re not sitting you’ll actually be sharper. So an hour conference call you are going to get a fair amount and you do that several times a week, you are talking real money there. So there are lots of little things that you can do and I am going to be writing actually have written and just formatting a big post about how to get 10,000 steps at work and so I’m going to be including a lot of these tips and it is also nice to know that a lot of very famous people would take breaks to go think and walk and that’s a very important thing. So really my simple advice to you is every opportunity you can think of, just keep moving.
Amanda: Luckily my cat helps me with that because my office is in the basement and my cat likes to go in and out and so when he comes to the window and the way to let him in means I have to walk to the other side of the house, go up the stairs, walk back over like walk to where my desk is, my office is to let him in and then he is actually a tease. So sometimes when I get there he is like, “No, I changed my mind.” And I have to go back across that house down stairs and back over. But I actually don’t mind it because it is helpful to keep moving.
The other thing that’s actually great for me is we have a little bit of a home gym and so sometimes I walk by there and I will go sit on the bench and do 20 situps or something just to have some movement. On my way back from the bathroom, I will stop and do a little something in there so every little bit I really feel especially I am over 40 now and I feel that my body is not getting any younger. I am not going to magically get any more flexible so yeah.
Paul: Awesome cat. I don’t know if we can productize her or him but let’s clone him and – the exercise cat – that’s awesome. So wonderful. It sounds like you are on a great path and I wish you lots of luck.
Amanda: Thanks so much Paul, great chatting with you.
Here is Exercise Kitty. Please share and pass on the good health.
Experience Advocate on @jetpack at @automattic the makers of @wordpressdotcom and other awesomeness.
Author, Speaker, Writer, ♥’r of Ideas and Sharing them.
Paul: I am sitting down with a keynote speaker at WordCamp Rhode Island. He just gave a wonderful inspirational talk. His name is Jesse Friedman and Jesse I would just want you to talk a little bit about yourself and your journey and how you look at work and exercise and changes that you can make and the little hacks that you can get away with.
Jesse: Thank you for having me on. So a little bit about myself. I currently work at Automattic which is the company behind WordPress.com. And you can look us up at www.automattic.com and if anybody out there is a designer, developer, writer we are always hiring.
So the great thing about Automattic is we are distributed company which means that we all work from home. It is an awesome benefit for us as employees but some of the challenges that come with it, the fact that we end up staying in our house a lot. And so some of the things I have done to help me as someone who has worked from home, out of the last seven years I have worked from home for 5 1/2 of them at Automattic and other companies.
As far as distraction goes, it’s good to seclude yourself but that also has his own problems because you can end up spending six hours in this chair and never even get up. So I have two dogs who need to be walked up so it’s a quick little thing that I can do every day to make sure that not only am I getting out and getting a little bit of exercise and meeting my step goal but I am interacting with my pets and then I am also getting out, getting some fresh air which clears my head.
The other benefit I have at Automattic is that I have a very flexible schedule. So I get to make the hours that I want for myself as long as they don’t conflict with anything that goes on with work. So I get to go to the gym at the part of the day when I feel less motivated to work and more motivated to get out. So I usually hit the gym around 10 o’clock in the morning which is great because it’s quiet and it’s relaxed at the gym and then I come back feeling very motivated and ready to tackle the rest of the day.
The last bit that I would say is that because I work at Automattic they actually help you build a home office and I opted instead of for a really nice ergonomic chair, I went for a tread desk. And as someone who has battled weight loss is whole life I can say that I am finally making progress this past year because of these things. And a tread desk, while it’s not something I can do for the entire day, it takes a toll on you and about the two hour mark is where I start to see that it starts interact with my daily job.
But before that I am undoing the damage it’s caused by sitting all day for two hours and I think something out there that says for every 10 minutes that you stand you undo 30 minutes of sitting damage. So those are the three things I would say that I do every day to try and help myself stay fit and get into better shape.
Paul: Great, that’s awesome. Thank you very much.
Jesse: Thank you.
Automattic sounds like an awesome company to work for. They are looking for Developers, Designers and Writers. Check them out!
Here is Jesse Friedman’s Keynote speech at WordCamp Rhode Island 2015.