If you’ve ever been an office nine-to-fiver, it’s likely that you’ve felt the tedium of cubicle life. When you consider today’s sedentary work culture, it comes as no surprise that sitting at the same desk, day after day, often takes a mental and physical toll.
Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to stay healthy on the job, including using the stairs instead of the elevator or pausing every 30 minutes for simple stretching. However, for many, a nontraditional workplace demands staying active as part of the job description.
We spoke to three employees about the pluses and minuses of a life when the “office” is a packed exercise studio or the unforgivingly steep streets of downtown Seattle.
Irene Alexander Tokar of Fremont’s Yoga Tree teaches four classes a week. Currently, she also juggles parenting a new baby, instructing for the studio’s teacher training program and working as a massage therapist at Cadenza Bodywork. Needless to say, she’s a busy woman. Thankfully, however, she’s also a woman who loves her jobs.
“In a desk job, it’s easy to forget your body,” Tokar said. “As a yoga teacher, being in my body is the number one job requirement. I always feel more grounded and balanced after class.”
Tiger Parker has a job many bike aficionados would love – he’s a delivery cyclist for Bimbo’s Cantina on Capitol Hill. The work, he says, is every bit as great as you would think.
“The job naturally forces me to maintain physical and mental preparedness,” Parker said. “Going up and down Capitol Hill-First Hill-Central District requires intense physical exertion while having to balance speed and safety.”
Parker has stayed in the service industry most of his life, making a conscious effort to avoid desk jobs. Although he admits his income is likely lower than it would be in other roles, he says his current happiness justifies the trade-off. “The ‘natural high’ one gets from physical exertion… there’s joy in concentration, being in motion and being in the moment.”
FLYWHEEL SPORTS TRAINER
Tommy McCarthy is the West Coast master trainer at Flywheel Sports, where he teaches 12 to 15 indoor cycling classes per week. Aside from the exciting challenge of coming up with new playlists for classes, why does McCarthy enjoy his job?
“I love seeing people transform their mind, body and life through fitness,” McCarthy said. “Leading by example is huge for me. I can’t expect others to do what I won’t, so I just do.”
McCarthy has previously worked jobs where sitting was a big part of the day, but he says that structure never appealed to him.
“Creating a lifestyle where my passion for cycling became my job was always the goal,” he said. “Now that I have that, I can honestly say that I don’t work, or at least it doesn’t feel like work.”