Do you have a non-sedentary job?

(18 Posts)
JumboShiitake Thu 07-Jan-21 20:53:06

I am wrecking my body with a sedentary job. Ever since I started working in an office environment in my 20s I've had back issues.

Episodes are getting more prolonged and frequent as I get older, and although I've made various adjustments, I honestly don't think I can carry on until retirement.

I'm early 50s so I think I've got time to retrain / learn new skills, but what to do?

What do you do that doesn't involve much sitting (or driving)?

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PilatesPeach Thu 07-Jan-21 20:54:11

I used to be a lawyer am now a fitness instructor & yoga teacher.

Unihorn Thu 07-Jan-21 20:55:43

Retilail and hospitality are good for increasing steps. People would regularly do 15-20,000 steps on busy days in the restaurant I used to work in. I only managed 10,000 as a manager though..!

I would imagine groundskeepers and that sort of thing would involve a great deal of movement.

DobbleDobble Thu 07-Jan-21 20:58:05

I won’t mention my actual role , it’s frontline on feet all day.
I’m 45 now and have worked in full on physically demanding jobs since 18, my body is starting to feel buggered too though, my ankles hurt at the end of day from being on feet for back hurts from carrying equipment .
So I know it’s not an answer for you but it can still happen when been in totally opposite work too!
I think I need to do yoga to stretch out my body .

JumboShiitake Thu 07-Jan-21 21:07:48

@Unihorn 10,000 steps would be a huge improvement for me! On busy days when I cant take much of a break, I barely make 3000.

@DobbleDobble lifting / carrying would definitely be out as well unfortunately

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DobbleDobble Fri 08-Jan-21 05:43:17

What about cleaning houses/businesses ?
Dog walking/grooming?

I think in the climate we are in , it may be difficult to retrain “on the job” atm as not sure the jobs are out there.
But if there’s something to study so that you are job ready in a year or two may be good?

badlydrawnbear Fri 08-Jan-21 07:11:15

I'm a nurse. It definitely doesn't involve much sitting, but is notoriously bad for your back, so that's not the solution.
Are you working from home at the moment? MY DH works in IT in an office usually, but has been working from home. He used to attend meetings in different buildings or at least walk from room to room/ up and down stairs to different meeting rooms. Now he has all his meetings online from a computer right next to the kitchen, so he really noticed the lack of movement in his day and how few steps he was walking and has taken to going for long walks after work to help (he was doing other sporting activities too when we aren't in complete lockdown). Would that be more feasible than retraining for a completely new career?


BarbaraofSeville Fri 08-Jan-21 07:17:58

Agree that incorporating activity into your current situation might be a better solution. Can you stand and stretch, squat and lift hand weights while taking calls or being in meetings?

Get out for a decent walk or two every day. Walk to the local shop for top ups rather than stocking up for the week?

You say you are busy, but if you are desk based your employer should encourage you to move around for a few minutes every hour. Get a fitness watch that buzzes to alert you to do this.

Maybe also look into yoga or pilates online, that's really good for all manner of bodily aches and pains.

JumboShiitake Fri 08-Jan-21 09:09:54

@badlydrawnbear thank you, that is definitely an issue for me which I hadn't really considered, as I am WFH but usually work in an office with 3 separate buildings & regularly move between for meetings etc, and now I just make the odd trip to the kitchen / loo confused

I do try to get out for a short walk each day and walk for much longer at weekends, and I've been doing an online Pilates class, but I was a regular gym goer and I think I've lost considerable core strength sad

I have a sit / stand desk and an ergonomic chair, but when I'm very busy / stressed I don't stand as much as I should blush

I must look at taking more frequent breaks and standing more.

@DobbleDobble that was exactly my thought, I could start planning / training for something now with a view to making a change in a year or two.

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onewhitewhisker Fri 08-Jan-21 11:15:18

A friend retrained as a gardener in her 40s. She has done lots of studying to get the higher horticultural diplomas etc and moved jobs a few times quickly in the first few years to move up so that she is now able to get high end head gardener jobs with a nice balance of physical activity and more sedentary planning/design/managing a team. But I think she'd still say moving into a manual job later in life has still had quite a physical impact on her and she's not sure how future-proofed it is as a career change. Good luck!

lastqueenofscotland Fri 08-Jan-21 11:21:52

I used to be a groom ( look after horses) super active but if you’ve got a bad back it’s probably a terrible idea

36degrees Fri 08-Jan-21 11:34:29

I have a sedentary job which has been home-based for the last two years. I've switched to doing all my one to one meetings as phone calls instead of in person or Teams/Zoom and do them while walking outside. I live in quite a remote area so no issues with being overheard etc, but if it's likely to be sensitive content I stay at home to fully maintain privacy and focus.

I try to time it so I end up back at home or near a cafe when we hang up so I can write down a quick note and some actions. It took a while to get used to and I feel it's not as effective as sitting down at a desk with access to all my information, but something had to give in terms of prioritising my health and activity levels.

WhatAreWordsWorth Fri 08-Jan-21 11:58:13

I’m only in my 20s OP and I feel your pain. I’m already starting to experience intense neck and shoulder pain - it got really bad last year with WFH.

A few things things to consider that have helped me:

- I’m sure you’ve already done this but if not, check that your desk set-up is right in terms of your feet being flat on the ground (or on a foot rest), elbows bent at right angles when typing, screen around eye level rather than you looking down at it etc. Also make sure that you have a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse rather than just working from a laptop all day as this helps to give you an optimum set-up for your posture.

- Definitely stand more, if possible. Set an alarm on your phone or even an email reminder every couple of hours to remind you to stand. (I’m jealous I really want a standing desk)!

- Also, set a reminder to stretch once in the morning and once in the afternoon. I’m lucky that sometimes my days are quiet, so I can fit in 15 mins of yoga easily. Even a short 5 minute stretch will benefit you, and you can find some good videos on YouTube

- It’s great that you’re doing the Pilates class. Try to incorporate some of the movements into your everyday stretching so that you’re doing them regularly and building core strength, rather than just a couple of times a week.

- Have you considered meditation? I’ve recently downloaded the Calm app and I’m still getting the hang of it, but there are some great breathing exercises that really make a difference and help you to relieve muscle tension.

- Another thing on my list is a Shakti Mat. Not for everyone but worth a look if you think it might benefit you.

- If all else fails, see a physio or a chiropractor if you’re able to. I saw a physio before Christmas and they gave me some stretches, movements and breathing exercises to do which seem to have helped.

- Finally, stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep. Also think about replacing your mattress/pillows if you think you need to.

I hope you manage to get your back issues under control. Sorry for the essay but I know how much these problems can take over your life when you’re sat at your desk all day. I’ve made it my mission to prioritise my health as I can’t see myself ever doing a job that isn’t office based, so I know I need to get a handle on this stuff early! smile

WhatTheFoot Fri 08-Jan-21 12:00:29

Nursery nurse..on the go all day, 2 year olds don't tend to be sedentary very often!

Ragwort Fri 08-Jan-21 12:06:41

I used to get a lot of back ache when I had an office job ... now I run a charity shop - always moving around and no more bad back ! (About a third of the salary though grin).

Iwantacampervan Fri 08-Jan-21 13:19:00

Nursery worker and retail - don't even try to count the number of steps I do all day & I have very little time to sit down.

Saharafordessert Fri 08-Jan-21 13:45:59

I’m a fitness instructor and a groom and average 25,000 steps a day. Whilst I’m incredibly active I’m probably wrecking my body too, just in a different way to you!

JumboShiitake Fri 08-Jan-21 23:04:58

@WhatAreWordsWorth thank you, lots of tips and reminders there, I'm actually replacing my mattress this week.

@36degrees that is actually a fabulous idea - I take very few notes in meetings anyway as I tend to remember stuff but dont you find you get distracted sometimes being out and about? I'd worry in some of my more tedious meetings I'd end up losing track because I've just noticed some interesting diy project going on at a neighbours or something blush

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