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Staying Healthy When Working 12 Hours a Day?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the long-haul dept.

Biotech 204

dwija asks: "I just got a new job where I just sit in one place all day and work for 12 hours at a stretch. This goes on for 4 days a week and I get 3 days off. The journey to and from my office takes up about 3 hours of my day. I am a little worried now cause i am becoming really weak and I am not as healthy as I used to be. I want to ask others on Slashdot about the kinds of weird times in which they work and what they do to take care of their health and stress."

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204 comments

Make time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855656)

exercise at lunch. I run M,W,F and it works out great. Often times office buildings will have one bathroom with a shower.

Re:Make time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855822)

Multi-vitamins... best thing I ever did... except that one thing, but we won't go there.

Re:Make time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11856339)

He works for 12 hours straight. Apparently he doesn't get a lunch or bathroom break.

eat well, excersize, sleep (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11855671)

That is all you can do

Quit and find a new job (4, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855692)

Quit and find a new job, because if your current job is taking your health, you're actually working 168 hours a week.

And I bet your hourly pay sucks.

And it could be worse than that... if it takes years off your life, you could be "working" more than 168 hours a week.... arbitrarily more.

What you are doing is something that you are simply not designed to do. Some people may be able to do it, neither you nor I are one of them. Stop it, or pay the penalty, collected by Reality, the least lenient loan shark of them all.

Re:Quit and find a new job (0)

tzanger (1575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856524)

you're actually working 168 hours a week.

Huh? Four 12 hour days a week is 48 hours. Even if you add in the 3h roundtrip commute that's 60 hours a week.

Re:Quit and find a new job (2, Informative)

dilger (1646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856723)

My guess is the hyperbole here (7*24=168) is intended to make the argument that if X amount of work is compromising your health, it really doesn't matter if you work X+20 hours, or all the time.

cbd.

Re:Quit and find a new job (2, Informative)

duck_oil (645053) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856730)

Huh? Four 12 hour days a week is 48 hours. Even if you add in the 3h roundtrip commute that's 60 hours a week.

He means if the job makes you feel that bad, you'll feel bad at work and at home. 168 hours per week.

Re:Quit and find a new job (5, Informative)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857351)

A 4&3 is not a bad schedule. Even with 12-hour shifts.

It's the three-hour commute that's killing him.

For a lot of the last 10 years, I've worked a 3-on, 3-off, 2-on, 2-off schedule with 12s. It really isn't bad.

Look at it this way, with his schedule, he's working less than 50 hours a week. Most people work at least 9 hours a day. The employer takes an hour for lunch leaving you 40 hours. If you ever work a weekend or stay late more than twice a week, then you have gone over 48 hours.

But that commute...

It's simple: Live where you work. Get an apartment close to where you work and live there. If you have a family and are not willing to move, then quit.

Another idea is to get a hotel close to work once a week. If the pay is good enough to offset a $60 hotel room, then try it. Staying in a hotel the 3rd night of your week will feel like a dream.

What you really need to do is get some 15lb dumbells and start using them.

Do 10 pushups every other hour. Aim for 50 the first 2 weeks and add a few more each week after. Shoot for 20 pushups at a time and 120 per day.

Same with situps. If you work buisness casual, a towel will keep your shirt clean. Get a sit-up bar for your feet or just hook them under the edge of your desk.

Do curls, squats, upright rows, military presses, and other creative exercises with the dumbells. Agian, no more than 10 or 20 at a time. But you will be doing them throughout the shift.

It'll keep your metabolism high and make you feel a lot better.

Get some alcohol, talcum powder, hand lotion, and a clean rag for your drawer.

If you feel sweaty, use the rag doused with some alcohol to clean the sweat. Use talc to prevent sweat to begin with. Hand lotion is for your hands; push-ups and dumbells can wreak havoc on girly-hands.

Anyway, good luck.

Re:Quit and find a new job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11857769)

I have a better idea, start an affair with the secretary. Have crazy hot sex in the elevator 4 times a day. It will not only burn calories, but it will relax you.

If you get busted, just tell your boss that you were improving your oral skills.

Take solace... (1)

mpmansell (118934) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855694)

.. in chocolate, pizza and cola :)

Seriously, though, the only thing you can do is to try and eat healthily and find time a couple of times a week for the gym. If you can get to cycle to/from work some of the time, it is a big help

Re:Take solace... (4, Insightful)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855837)

3 hours by car is frequently more by bicycle. However it would probably help his fitness.

Re:Take solace... (1)

Jorkapp (684095) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856045)

Modified simpsons quote:

I get up, bike 5 hours to work, work for 12 hours, bike 5 hours home, eat dinner, sleep for 6 minutes, get up, shower, sleep for 5 more minutes, and im off to work fresh as a daisy!

Change Jobs (5, Insightful)

Ridgelift (228977) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855702)

Don't do the job. To sit for 15 hours a day straight isn't healthy, and no amount of isometrics or other exercise will help.

Maybe you can talk to your employer and see if you can work out a compromise. Work is like a rubber ball, if you drop it it'll always bounce back. Your health is like a glass ball, drop it too many times and it'll crack or shatter.

Re:Change Jobs (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857287)

well.. if he did sports on the 3 days that he's got off he would be better off probably.

but the problem really for me would be that 24-15 is just 9 hours. there's not anything you can do in that but sleep.

but this guys _REAL_ solution is to excersise for like 10 minutes per hour, flex out in front of the desk or whatever. there's very few jobs that would really require you to not get up at all and get some walking around in it... maybe work in a 30 min break, run around the factory or whatever. he'd be in better condition than most slashdotters that way anyhow.

Health on the job (5, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855709)

I started having serious health problems - overweight, incipient type 2 diabeties, high blood pressure etc. all pointing to early CV problems.

The solution was to find a job closer to home and spend no more than 45 hours a day at work. The rest, diet, exercise, etc. became easy after I got away from the pressure cooker.

Re:Health on the job (5, Funny)

dhakbar (783117) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855815)

"The solution was to find a job closer to home and spend no more than 45 hours a day at work"

I don't know if I'd consider you cured of a workaholic lifestyle...

Re:Health on the job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11856079)

He's probably cured of being a workaholic, but not submitting without proofreading,

Re:Health on the job (3, Funny)

andyh1978 (173377) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856093)

"The solution was to find a job closer to home and spend no more than 45 hours a day at work"
I don't know if I'd consider you cured of a workaholic lifestyle...
However, his time travel research job appears to be going well.

Avoid caffeine & carbs (4, Interesting)

Spamsonite (154239) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855732)

I'm working 7-days a week, 14 hours a day doing IT for the world's largest rodeo in Houston. Like you, I drive approximately 3 hours a day to and from work.

Even though both caffeine and carbs provide a short-term energy boost, I find that avoiding them completely makes me much more alert and energetic overall. The crash when the caffeine or insulin levels swing knocks me out cold.

Unlike you, my job has me running all day long, so I don't usually run into trouble until the drive home. If I've kept an even blood-sugar all day, I'm usually just fine. On days when I've had to grab a burger (or worse) for lunch, I sometimes have to stop on the side of the road and catch a short nap to stay safe. Sleeping on the side of the road, even in a well-lit rest stop, is a health risk in it's own right...

Re:Avoid caffeine & carbs (4, Informative)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855894)

avoiding carbs is basically the same thing as starving. carbohydrates should be your main source of energy - fat and protein don't work anywhere near as well (hence the atkins diet being so bad).

Did you mean avoid high-sugar foods? You might have something there. Eat complex carbs, not sugars. Eat cereal for breakfast, for example - the carbs will slowly break down giving you energy throughout the day, rather than a quick burst of energy that leaves you feeling worse once it wears off.

If you really need a quick burst, eat something sugary (dextrose sweets are designed for just such a time) and some more complex (a sandwich, for example) at the same time (well... one after the other is fine... they might not mix well). That way once the sugars wears off the carbs will kick in.

Re:Avoid caffeine & carbs (3, Informative)

Student_Tech (66719) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856053)

To go with the mix of sugar and complex carbs:
A PB&J sandwich would work. The jelly/jam should have some sugar(either added or from the fruit), then you have some protein from the peanut butter(you will likely have some sugar in there as well depending on the brand), and the complex carbs from the bread.

Actually, crackers and jam/jelly would probably work as well if you want a bunch of bite size snacks. Just make yourself up a plate to snack on.
Rice/Corn Cakes with PB & Jelly/Jam also work if you don't want/can't have bread.

Honey would also work if you don't want jelly/jam.

Re:Avoid caffeine & carbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11856680)

Simple/complex is not that meaningful. You should be looking at glycemic index instead. You can also just try to eat carbs from high fiber sources.

Re:Avoid caffeine & carbs (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856860)

avoiding carbs is basically the same thing as starving. carbohydrates should be your main source of energy - fat and protein don't work anywhere near as well (hence the atkins diet being so bad).

If this is true, why don't Atkins dieters drop dead due to (energy) starvation, and why do so many of them report increases in energy levels, in ways that can't just be their imagination?

I've heard theories like yours, but they predict things that don't happen in reality. Therefore, I find myself unable to put much stock in them. Given the experiences I have and the experiences of others, like I said, you're darned near going to have to produce corpses to back up your claims, or one hell of a lot of studies that I'm quite confident don't exist, as I've looked for them.

I think you're peddling psuedo-science.

Re:Avoid caffeine & carbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11857507)

I used to find that I peaked and crashed when eating carbohydrates, but then I switched from white carbohydrates to brown carbohydrates and the problem went away. In fact I really only switched from white bread to brown bread and the problem went away. The difference between white and brown rice and pasta wasn't noticeable so I stayed with the tastier white.

Re:Avoid caffeine & carbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11857316)

a health risk in it's own right

"its".

So rodeos mistreat their human animals as badly as their non-human animals. I can't say that I'm surprised.

That's bad... (3, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855748)

...but it's not that bad. (It's a crunch-time construction worker schedule, for example.) You should be able to come up with something workable, and if your health is still really suffering, it's suggestive of complete dissatisfaction.

If you want to stick it out, though, I'd say keys are:

  • Eat right, with healthy food at regular times
  • Get some daylight during the day
  • Get as much sleep as you can (which i tough, since you need to decompress)
  • Take active breaks during the day instead of reading /.

balance (3, Insightful)

incognitopoet (860978) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855763)

I had a job trading currency and derivitives for almost five years. It involved sitting in an office chair for 14 hours a day, five and a half days a week. If you get the right kind of chair it isn't too bad. There is a payoff point at which you make enough money while working to make it up to yourself when you are not working. For me, the birth of my son was an incentive to find ways to be home more, working less.

Quit before you die (5, Insightful)

SunFan (845761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855766)


Find something easier, lest you burn out and become useless. If you feel you are doing the work of two people, it's because your company is too greedy and short sighted to hire someone else. Once they ruin you, they'll just hire some naive college graduate and ruin them too.

How about you or someone else reveal the company name as 'anonymous coward' if need be, to save the souls of others, who should not be harmed needlessly.

Re:Quit before you die (4, Insightful)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855895)

What if he is his own boss? I'm working 7 days a week and about 10-12 hours a day. The end is in sight but when you're struggling to finish a project sometimes you need to work more.

To help with my health I workout every morning for about 45 minutes and it gets me going for the day. I'm worried about getting diabetes and so I choose to do something about it, exercise daily (M-F), quit drinking soda (& caffiene), and limit my calorie intake (~2000 cal/day). I've lost about 45 lbs and have 20~25 to get to my college/poor person weight. Not to mention I will be fit again when I get there. If I can do it anyone can. Quitting caffiene was hard for about a week (3 days of headaches and 4 days of craving sodas) but I sleep better and wake up without needing my alarm. I used to drink about 3-4 liters of soda so 90% of my days calories were coming from there.

And like the other people said, you can always find another job.

Re:Quit before you die (1)

Seydlitz (690174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856024)

Sorry, agree with most of your post except one point - and that's the "~2000 cal/day" bit. Your chance of getting diabetes has nothing to do with your calorie intake, it's all to do with the amount of sugar you eat - and men (yes, I'm assuming you're a man) are simply designed to take more in the region of 2500 calories a day intake. I agree totally that limitting your calorie intake will loose you weight - but it has nothing to do with diabetes.

Re:Quit before you die (1)

SunFan (845761) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856292)

it's all to do with the amount of sugar you eat

It has to do with how much a person abuses themselves in general, and some people are inherently more susceptible to that abuse.

Re:Quit before you die (1)

Seydlitz (690174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856320)

heh - yes, it is - but the actual cause of diabetes is sugar intake, i'm fairly sure - please, prove me wrong - go for it!!

Re:Quit before you die (1)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856341)


Your chance of getting diabetes has nothing to do with your calorie intake, it's all to do with the amount of sugar you eat


You are being VERY broad there.

Wikipedia has as good a breakdown of the types and possible causes of Diabetes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabetes

Re:Quit before you die (1)

Wog (58146) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857379)

Amen on the 2500 calories. It may, in fact, be more.

I started on a calorie reduction diet (inspired by the hacker's diet) about a month ago. I was under the mistaken assumption that my normal calorie intake would be about 2200 calories. So, I figured, 1400cal/day should do the trick. Now, I was 21yrs, male, 218lbs. The 1400 was doable but tough... I was a little scared when I lost 15 pounds in 3 weeks. I did more research into what I really needed when I started getting weak during the day and sleeping 9 hours/day.

So I jumped up to normal intake again, though I certainly watch it more. I'll eventually drop to 1800 or so to get down to a target weight of about 180, but right now I'm losing weight faster than I want to, and can't stop it. I'm told that if I stay regular for a week or two, I'll stabilize..

That was rambling, but I guess my point to all desire weight-loss is... Yes, the lost weight feels and looks FANTASTIC, but it's not worth it when you lose it too fast. Be reasonable!

Re:Quit before you die (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857409)

If he's consuming less food and drink in general, he's most likely cut his sugar consumption as well.

You may argue chicken-and-egg, but it's a futile debate: Diabetes and obesity are linked: "Overweight teens getting adult diabetes" [irishhealth.com]. Eat healthy (mostly by eating less) and both problems are addressed simultaneously.

Being overweight is bad for you.

Re:Quit before you die (2, Informative)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856671)

Quitting caffiene was hard for about a week (3 days of headaches and 4 days of craving sodas) but I sleep better and wake up without needing my alarm.

Quick tip: if you taper off caffeine, ending with circa 1/2 cup of soda per day for a few days, you can generally avoid the headaches.

Also, one of the best things I did for my health was to stop using my alarm clock most of the time. That forced me to go to bed on time.

Sitting?? (4, Insightful)

MrWa (144753) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855786)

Do you have to sit the entire time? Instead of sitting for 12 hours at a stretch, you could actually stretch during that time. Unless you actively doing something the entire time - sounds unlikely and you are probably watching something - you can watch whatever it is you are supposed be watching and stretch at the same time. Not only will this be healthier, it will help you stay alert and perform better.

Be sure to get out on your days off. Don't think that three days of no work equals a three day weekend where you can game for 24+ hours at a time. Take advantage of the extended time off that most of us, with jobs, dream about and go places, do stuff, and be active!

Re:Sitting?? (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856711)

Do you have to sit the entire time?

Even if he doesn't have to now, he will soon want
to - once he takes up some other slashdotter's suggestion to bike 5 hours to work.

zerg (3, Insightful)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855816)

You've got to eat healty, cut out the chips & cookies and soda.

Also, you can't be working 12 hours straight, because if you don't get up to walk around for a minute every ~45 minutes, you'll go blind. Anyone who tells you otherwise is begging for a visit from OSHA.

Re:zerg (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856352)

45 minutes? No, it's more like one 15 minute break in a 4 hour period.

Re:zerg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11857095)

The grandparent didn't say anything about a 45 minute break; one minute of walking around, collecting your thoughts is hardly a break.

Oh, and the absolute minimum is 30 minutes every 6 hours.

Quit your job (3, Interesting)

anpe (217106) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855829)

There's nothing that justifies the fact you'll give away your health for money.
Move to another city, state or country. Don't put yourself any artificial constraint. There are lots of places on earth where you'll get a decent life. Move.

Re:Quit your job (1)

Seydlitz (690174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856266)

"There's nothing that justifies the fact you'll give away your health for money." I may disagree totally with the rest that comment, but I agree totally with that. With your working hours, join a gym, work out. Join a club, join a amuteur sport. Nothing, NOTHING, is worth more than you are. Join Mc' D's- as long as you, and your family, are happy - that's the main thing. Fuck the cash, fuck the social advancement, make yourself happy. Nothing else matters.

Re:Quit your job (4, Insightful)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856940)

There's nothing that justifies the fact you'll give away your health for money.
Move to another city, state or country. Don't put yourself any artificial constraint. There are lots of places on earth where you'll get a decent life. Move.


I was going to mod you up, but I wanted to expand on your comment.

The biggest problem with corporations is they can burn you out if its cost effective. Workers are not treated as human beings, they are treated as cattle, if they can make money by working you harder and getting away with it, they will do it.

Thats the problem, people think that corporations will follow the rules, try to make the best working environment they can. Thats not true, the have a responsibility to make money for investors, period. This is why unions where formed for the back breaking and dangerous jobs, to give some sort of safe working environment to the workers.

No forward 40 years, now people are working in an office. Its not back breaking, so the want longer hours, no OT, and if you are lucky your benefits will include the counseling you need when you loose your family due to divorce. Don't think your wife will put up with it..

Seriously, how many hours should a person be working? How many hours for that is commute time? You give up your vacations because you have a deadline? You working longer hours for crunch time? You think that 2 dollar an hour more is worth your family time?

Doesn't make sense you would trade your health for a short term job, because you will burn out.

But, if your 18 or just out of college these jobs look attractive, good pay, good beneifits, and hey, you work for a fortune 500 company... Be careful..

Also, hey, if you do burn out, they have insurance right?

Excersize at work (2, Interesting)

n1ywb (555767) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855878)

Do you have stairs? Climbing stairs is great exercise that will get your heart rate up really fast. If you take two or three 10 minute stair climbing breaks per day, it will increase your average metabolism, even when you are sitting around.

Also, exercise like a bastard on your days off.

Bus driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11856803)

Bus drivers have similar schedules. There was one when I was at school who would do a set of push-ups (aisle) and pull-ups (overhead grab bar) at every break. He'd even do laps around the bus when he got a chance.

Re:Excersize at work (2, Insightful)

Deagol (323173) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857085)

Sound advice, and it can be possible to work such things into your daily routine.

When I went into the office (before I started telecommuting) I'd park in a lot on campus (worked at a large university) that was close to a mile from my building. In the morning, that was mostly a downhill walk; likewise an uphill walk at the end of the day.

So, 1.9 miles of brisk walking I wouldn't otherwise take at the cost of maybe 10 minutes each way.

Next, I stopped using the elevator for getting to my 4th floor office. I *usually* took the stairs down, but when I started taking them *up* every time I returned to the building, I got a short workout.

It may not seem like much, but over the course of a couple of months, I could notice my short-windedness disappearing. I didn't see a weight loss, but I felt a touch better.

Re:Excersize at work (1)

der_joachim (590045) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857857)

Even better: if they have showers at your office building: bring your running shoes and go out at lunch. A 30 minute run is more than enough. The first few times are exhausting, but you'll gradually have more energy, both physical and mental.

Buy a rowing machine (5, Insightful)

gvc (167165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855885)

Mail order for $800.00 from Concept II [concept2.com]

Rowing is low-impact, aerobic, and you can start
as slowly as you like. 30 mins a day while you
listen to the radio, watch TV, or just ponder your
latest bug.

The unit I mentioned above is suitable for
beginners through elite athletes.

Definite nerd appeal with a USB connection and
a wireless heart monitor. Lots of builtin
stats and uses a plug-in memory card.
Regenerative power means a D-cell lasts years.

I'm on my 2nd rowing machine (the first was
a competitor but it did last a dozen years
and thousands of kms). I'm about to hit 1000
km on this one.

No other $800 piece of exercise equipment will
dissipate enough energy (without self-destructing)
to give you a decent workout. You'd have to
drop more than $3K to get a treadmill anywhere
neare as durable. And getting on your feet to
walk/run requires a lot more motivation than
sitting down on the rower.

Re:Buy a rowing machine (1)

Seydlitz (690174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856055)

Sorry, but I row for my university (British - Cardiff, in particular) and somone will be hard pressed to row for more than 2K (4-5 min, (even six, if a woman) ) unless they have trained very hard indeed. 30 mins requires a fuckload of fitness, as well as a hell of a lot of dedication - if they are doing it right, that is. Personally, I'd say it was worth more joining a gym every day. A couple of quid every time - what could be worth more!?

Re:Buy a rowing machine (1)

gvc (167165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856116)

Sorry, but you're speaking of competitive
rowing. I never set any speed targets.

I assume you mean 2km at 4-5 min/km. Or do you
mean 2km in 5 min? I don't know about a real
shell, but with the Concept II's calibration,
that's impossible.

I didn't say you have to go fast. How 'bout 8
min/km? Or plug in the heart monitor and ignore
the speed.

My point is that you can sit on the rower and do
anything between nothing more than sitting and
an olympic performance. It all depends on how hard and how often you yank on the handle.

Re:Buy a rowing machine (1)

Seydlitz (690174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856213)

Ah, my mistake. No, I actually mean 6:45 over 2km - that's pretty much a standard over competative university rowing - if you can keep up with that without the university training, you're doing well. (for you that haven't experienced the university rowing (In the U.K.), it's six days a week, several training sessions a day.) I can honestly say that I've never heard of 'Concept II' - but It's very possible over actual water, let me assure you. (We are expected to attend this, and we're out of the team if we don't). 8 Min / km is shockingly bad. I can (and so can everyone everyone I know) keep that up almost all day - I'm not joking, 2 min / km is standard for cruising speed. (again, this is a very fit univsersity standard (19-23'yr old, male)(women are always much slower, it's a physical drawback)) But don't feel bad if you can't - I do have the advantage of youth, and a fanitcal training schedule.

Re:Buy a rowing machine (1)

gvc (167165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856301)

Most of us are shockingly out of shape. That is
not to say we shouldn't exercise at the level we
are able.

The author of the original article stated that he
was feeling weak, which leads me to believe that
he should start slow and celebrate his achievement,
not compare himself to elite rowers. If he feels
that 15 mins is a better duration for a start,
that's 15 mins better than nothing. But 30
mins, several times a week, is what I think
he should plan for in the long run.

He also said that he didn't have a lot of spare
time which is why I believe a piece of home
equipment (or office equipment if he has
an accommodating employer) is the only way
he'll find the time. 15-30 mins of exercise
takes an hour, more or less, when you include
the overhead of a club.

One of the major reasons that people quit
exercising is that they try too hard. As you
approach your limit, the perceived effort and
desire to quit rise exponentially, but the health
benefit rises only slightly. So the trick is
to back way off. To the point that you don't
feel distress. And, to use a commercial cliche,
"Just Do It!"

(BTW, I'm in decent shape, but far from elite:
personal bests of 10K Concept II 39:55; 10K run
39:56; Marathon 3:40.)

Re:Buy a rowing machine (1)

gvc (167165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856688)

The World record for 2 km on the Concept II [concept2.com] is 5:37.0

I am inexpert in on-water rowing. I've been unable
to find any 2000m results in the 4:00 range. Could
you please point me at some?

Re:Buy a rowing machine (1)

Seydlitz (690174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856886)

Ah, schoolboy error- I'm so used to using standard terms I assumed you were too (again, my fault, not yours) - I mean 3/ min per half km. (crusing).
(Also, don't piss about - you know as much as I do that 1:00/500 is impossible over water as it is over a ergo)

Allow me to clarify for those who are throughrly confused.

Over a short race, we (the univeristy team) can pull 1:20(min) per 500m - 500m is normally the standard measurement.(if anyone but a extremely fit sportsman can do this, I shake your hand. It's generally the finatics that do this.)

Over longer races, off-water ergo's don't really compare anymore - the most important factor is the resistant value of the individual ergo, but the wind factor and the timing of the crew all pay a factor in this. (even the cox!)

In British terms, 8500m per half hour is normal. (again, standard university training level.)
With, this is, normal (if it can be said) ergo resitance factors.

Re:Buy a rowing machine (1)

gvc (167165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857027)

I wasn't trying to yank your chain. You said in
your original post: "one will be hard pressed to
row for more than 2K (4-5 min, (even six, if a
woman)"

Did you mean hard pressed at 4-5 min/500m? That'd
be pretty slow, but I'm sure that a number of
people would have to start at that pace.

OK - I don't really think you meant that. I
think you meant hard-pressed at 4-5 min/km, and
I agree. 6-10 min/km is a more realistic start
for your average couch potato.

And, yes, the Concept II does indeed report
time/500m so 6-10min/km is 3:00 - 6:00 on the
display.

Aside: I thought Concept II was by far the world
leader in ergos. What are its competitors?

Re:Buy a rowing machine (1)

gvc (167165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857062)

"so 6-10min/km is 3:00 - 6:00 on the display."

Typo. Should be "6-10min/km is 3:00 - 5:00".

Sorry to add to the confusion.

Re:Buy a rowing machine (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856722)

Dogbert's 2nd Clue for the Clueless

"Nobody ever lost weight or became fit on a home
exercise device."

Re:Buy a rowing machine (2, Interesting)

cide1 (126814) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856879)

I have rowed at the University level (Purdue in the U.S.) and can honestly say that out of all cardio exercises, I find rowing to be the easiest on the body. When done intensely and incorrectly, it can be hard on the back and knees. This is rare, and more likely a result of bad form.

A rowing machine (most often called an erg), is a lot more than just a piece of exercise equipment. Many work very hard on achieving certain goals, such as 1 million meters, or rowing a marathon. At the university level, we always concentrated on 2k, 5k, 6k and long distances. During the winter, it wouldn't be uncommon to sit down and row 40k in a practice just to build endurance. Others days we would do 12 one minute on, one minute off pieces, and go home and just crash. Because rowing is so low impact, most rowers peak quite a bit older than in other sports. The Men's 2k world record is held by a person in the 30-39 age group. $800 is cheaper than a gym membership over time, and I recommend either a stereo or TV to go with the thing. The YMCA near me has several Concept2 erg's, and I would recommend looking at a couple of sites for some technique information, and try them out.

The great thing about rowing, is that if you enjoy it, pretty much any city with a river will have a club. Here you can meet other people interested, find coaches, and use their boats. In some select cities (Philly, Boston) their is a country club atmosphere to these places. Anywhere else, they are just normal people, like a bike club or gym.

Even though I no longer row competitively, I still use an erg for a good warmup and cool down, no matter what my exercise routine for the day is.

Get excercise! (2, Interesting)

Pathwalker (103) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855886)

I work 12 hour night shifts, alternating between 3 and 4 days a week; I have worked this shift since 2001.

The two biggest things to remember are:
  • Take breaks
  • Get Excercise
I keep a copy of xwrits [lcdf.org] running on my workstation.
When it goes off, I go run up and down an eight story staircase [ofdoom.com] a couple of times before going back to work.

It's worked out pretty well for me over the years.

Re:Get excercise! (3, Funny)

cooley (261024) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857266)

Thanks for posting "xwrits". I'll check it out. Back in the day, I had a program for Mac OS (system 7) which would (unless you "force-quit" it) hang the computer for five minutes every hour while an animation of a cigarette burning down appeared on the screen.

It was called "cigarette break" or something similar. Whether you smoke or not, it was a great time to get up and move around while the computer had a smokey-treat.

Practical tips (4, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855913)

It sounds like you have a pseudo permacrunch schedule. I'd look into the things that people do to deal with harsh crunch times. Such as...

Use any excuse to get up and walk around. Walk around the office to talk to people F2F instead of IMing them. Walk to the bathroom. Walk up any stairs that may be around. Any excuse to move is a good one. Offer to help new people move their desks, etc.

If practical, bike to work. If necessary, park a few blocks away and bike in. I can't emphasize physical activity enough.

Assume that during those 4 days, you do nothing but work. Get enough sleep, take the time to cook all of your meals, and work. That's all you have time to do, really, before you have to start eating fast food and being sleep deprived. Any movies will have to wait for the weekend.

On your days off, exercise a lot. Devote one of your days to Dance Dance Revolution, Rock Climbing, Frisbee golf, swimming with your kids, or whatever, but you have to require yourself to spend the day being active, preferably outside, preferably with the people you care about.

Get sunlight. This can be the hardest thing if you work in the middle of an office building, come in before the sun comes up and leave after it goes down, but adequate lighting has a tremendous influence over mood. Add more lights to your desk and work area, and take your lunches outside under the sun. Open all of your curtains at work and at home.

Take up different projects or responsibilities at work. If you work on the install routine for banking software, help the office setup an intramural softball league. If you are engineering a new print head for a new type of hybrid lazer / inkjet printer, help the marketing people write promo material. This will help stave off burnout, and let you go through the necessary periods of dicking off without guilt. Studies have shown that a workforce produces the most in total if it is offtask "wasting time" for roughly 10% of their worktime. If you're working 12 hours a day, that's about an hour and fifteen minutes. And because you're working extra long, you will need extra time off of your primary task.

Move closer to work. If you can't do that, talk to your boss about telecommuting 2 days of the week. Invest some time getting to know the roadways between your home and work really well, and risk a few speeding tickets. I managed to shave 2-hours off of a 4-hour commute just by learning which highways and roadways were abandoned when, and which stretches the cops wouldn't bat an eye about speeding until you were over 150. I also avoided 6 dollars in tolls.

Find things to do in the car. Create a life diary on tape for future generations. Get lots of audio books from your local library. Carpool with interesting people. Learn to speak a foriegn language. The more intellectually engaged you can be in the car, the less the footprint of such a long commute will be.

Good luck!

Re:Practical tips (1)

mactov (131709) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856604)

The practical tips are good. Other possibilities to consider:

1. Is there any way to work SMARTER? Can the job be done in some way that breaks it up a little? Are you ever sitting and watching the screen, when you could be up and stretching or moving?

2. Look around your work environment. Is there anyone else at a similar task who seems to be thriving? What is he/she doing?

3. Check out this website: http://www.egoscue.com/ [egoscue.com] Pete Egoscue is a physical therapist who has come up with a lot of terrific exercises for surviving desk work. I, for one, would not be walking today had I not lucked onto his book, "Pain Free." Some of the exercises you do at home, some you can do at a desk, some are time-consuming, but they have done wonders for my body and mind and may help you.

4. Several people have mentioned caffiene and carbs. I find that sugar, especially, is poison if I'm under stress.

But check out Egoscue. Great stuff.

Re:Practical tips (1)

climbing_monkey (809613) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857142)

Exercise as much as possible, if that means running up and down stairs on your breaks then make that happen.

Drink lots of water, staying hydrated is important.

Make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet, if you aren't that could be part of what's making you so weak.

Eat organic healthy food, we all know that putting random chemicals and hormones into your body isn't always the best thing in the world. if buying all organic isn't practical try finding a co-op.

Go to a nutritionist if at all possible, they could help sort out ways to get stronger despite having ridiculous hours.

Be good to yourself, in other take time out to do fun things (like rock climbing as the parent said but that's not always feasible).

Go to a therapist; the last thing you need is to get depressed, having to be out of the house for 8 hours is hard enough when depressed 15 would be unbearable (for me when having a really depressive episode).

Re:Practical tips (1)

Trepalium (109107) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857465)

Eat organic healthy food, we all know that putting random chemicals and hormones into your body isn't always the best thing in the world. if buying all organic isn't practical try finding a co-op.
We all know this? 'Organic' does not equal healthy, just as synthetic does not equal unhealthy. An extremely potent toxin (botulism) is completely natural, and is responsible for causing severe illness or death in many people every year. On the other hand, the artificial process of chlorinating the water supply has proved to be beneficial because it kills off most water-borne parasites. Now, if you were to ask if I think ingesting pesticides is a healthy thing for you to do, I'd have to answer, "No", but that doesn't mean I believe it's unhealthy, either. For a large number of them, there's just no evidence one way or another. Now, you may feel better about not ingesting those pesticides and other chemicals by eating so-called 'organic' foods, and that's fine -- it's your choice, after all.

Now, eating healthier types of food is always a good idea. Avoiding fast food whenever feasible, and increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables is usually positive to your general health. I'd suggest avoiding preprepared or processed foods, and cooking all your own meals using fresh ingredients as well. If nothing more, cooking your own meals, even if you think you're too tired to do so will benefit your health and perhaps your energy for the day.

Smart commuting and exercising. (4, Informative)

Linuxathome (242573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855920)

You at least have at least 3 non-work days. Although it's probably better for you to exercise every other day, my med school teacher said that exercising three days straight is better than no exercise during the week at all. So find the discipline to do that.

Secondly, find out how to commute smarter. Those 3 hours involve only you behind the wheel, then it's going to take a toll on you -- mentally and physically. Be creative on how to commute. For example, in the DC metro area, there's a growing phenomenon called slug lines [slug-lines.com], which are "unofficial meeting places where commuters catch free rides with drivers who need additonal riders to use high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. [commuterpage.com]" If you don't have to drive, you can at least use that time for personal enrichment, like reading the paper, book, or listening to music or audiobooks, or you can do some work if you have a laptop, etc. That's 3 hours that you can have to yourself. If you buy an Archos AV340 [pricegrabber.com] and have a ReplayTV (or a networked TiVo) at home, you can even catch up on your favorite shows during the commute -- it makes the workday more bearable.

Re:Smart commuting and exercising. (1)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856487)

Slug lines are nothing new....my dad used to use them going to the Pentagon over fifteen years ago.

But it's reason enough to keep me *out* of the DC Metro area, even if it means less money (although the traffic where I live now sucks, too....but it's certainly not as bad as the Springfield Interchange).

Re:Smart commuting and exercising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11857134)

Those 3 hours involve only you behind the wheel, then it's going to take a toll on you -- mentally and physically. Be creative on how to commute.

A coworker here with a long commute worked out a deal to work 15 hours a day, four days straight, and crash at a friends place. Then he would take the other three days off...

Ask your bank where to buy a car (0, Troll)

EvilNutSack (700432) | more than 9 years ago | (#11855927)

What? It's bad enough that /. is being used by people too lazy to use google but now health questions? Shouldn't you be asking someone like, I dunno, your friggin doctor?

Re:Ask your bank where to buy a car (3, Insightful)

applegoddess (768530) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856134)

It might seem bad enough to you, but sometimes stuff like this makes you wake up and realize that you might be encountering the same issues..

What people say on the internet is very useful, even if it's taken with a grain of salt, and that's how I realized i had asthma. I thought I was just out of shape, just wheezing and feeling like I was going to pass out for like a year, until one day when I was bored... I made my way to medline, webmd and some forums to see if it was anything in particular. It soon dawned on me that I wasn't really out of shape but more along the lines of something I really didn't even think of. So I went to my doctor, and now I'm happily puffing away at my inhaler and gaining weight because of the advair. If I didn't do that, i wouldn't have known until I was in serious trouble, or decided to ask my doctor about it (which would be after being in serious trouble).

It's not being lazy so much as it is asking for advice from people I suppose he/she can relate to.

Re:Ask your bank where to buy a car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11856844)

On the other hand, what else does Slashdot have to do?

There can be only so many stories on how SCO and MS sucks, how Apple and IBM are the new mother teresa's and how writing secret code is evil but charging people money to figure out how to use open source stuff is not.

Simple solution (1, Interesting)

Jorkapp (684095) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856068)

May not be your cup of tea, but...

Quit your job and join the military. Plenty of fitness, decent pay, they usually pay for a whole lot of crap you normally would (housing, education, some meals, etc).

Not only that, you could find a liking for something you didn't consider during your elementary/high school years. I found a liking for aviation when I was planned for a CS career. Now I'm looking forward to many great years of flying.

Re:Simple solution (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11856858)

Ah, yes, the military. Travel the world, meet interesting people, kill them.

Re:Simple solution (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857405)

Quit your job and join the military. Plenty of fitness, decent pay, they usually pay for a whole lot of crap you normally would (housing, education, some meals, etc).

Man, he's trying to get AWAY from working 15 hour days. After 4 years of intermittently dragging 40lbs of ammo and/or radios (or sitting in a truck listening to radio static) 12-18 hours a day, sometimes for weeks straight, I was damn near used up. If a regular desk job is killing him, a thankless military term might just finish the job.

Quit (4, Interesting)

Darth_Burrito (227272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856082)

I used to work at a death march job. 60 hour work weeks. Lousy environment. Lots of stress. No appreciation. I was miserable and my health was probably not what it could have been. Within a few months of quiting, I felt great. Apparently I also looked a lot better because everyone I ran into kept asking questions like... Have you lost weight? You been going to the gym? Of course I hadn't been anywhere near a gym and I weighed the same as the day I quit, but leaving that horrible place made a huge difference that was visible to everyone around me.

If you're unhappy or unhealthy, and if you can't make it so you are happy and healthy (by juggling schedules or whatever), then quit. Life's too short.

Pay attention to sleep (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856112)

I get 2 days off, but the workday plus travel is 11-odd hours. I try to goto the gym daily, but the first day off is my 24-hour sleep which really repairs me for the next day.. so I can say I get one day off.

Mentally, read everything thats non-tech if youre in the tech business. Since youre working mentally, at the end of the day youre only tired mentally and can still run on a treadmill or swim... make that a priority. At the minimum goto the gym one day a week, and spend 2-hours exercising... even that makes a big difference.

It's your choice... (4, Insightful)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856115)

I just got a new job where I just sit in one place all day and work for 12 hours at a stretch. This goes on for 4 days a week and I get 3 days off. The journey to and from my office takes up about 3 hours of my day.

You don't have to sit for 12 hours at a stretch. You work for four and then go and walk for twenty minutes. That's an hour of exercise per day. If your employer won't allow it, talk to HR and make it clear that your health is being threatened by the current working conditions. If they fire you, get a good attorney and then take a couple years off on the money that you win.

Go to the gym (3, Informative)

Loualbano2 (98133) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856161)

During the 3 days you have off. Or only go 2, or even 1 time a week. You will be surprised what kind of difference this will make in your general constituion over time. You will notice things like better mood, better digestion, better sleep and more strength and endurance.

Now, before you give the standard nerd excuses like "I'm not a gym guy" or "I don't want to get all big like those guys" let me tell you that there are a lot of other things you can do there besides lifting weights. There are tons of classes, swimming, sometimes there's a heavy bag to hit, etc. I do lift, personally and recommend lifting over those other things, but that's my preference. As long as you exert some energy and leave there at least a little beat, you are doing a good thing.

ft

3 hour drive? Move closer... (2, Interesting)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856386)

Why can't you move closer? I can't imagine you have any commitments at home for the 6 hours you're there, other than sleep. At the least you could rent a place to sleep near work. If you're putting yourself through all this you must be making good money. Spend some of it.

Sex (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11856458)

A healthy sex life, preferably with hot transexual [onlinetranny.com], is also important.

Maybe your computer can actually help (2, Interesting)

breem42 (664497) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856482)

Have you seen the project "Workrave" [workrave.org]. It encourages you to take a break, and gives you exercises so that you don't get too stiff.

Hourly (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856516)

take a walk

Up some flights of stairs if you can find them.

This has helped for me on some of the past few weeks.

But seriously, this much time on your ass is going to have some serious affects on your health. If you can't get a solution, you probably really should consider some alternatives. But it's not for us to tell you go somewhere else someplace else for work.

But my point would be to run some plan for hourly exercise, however modest, just to get moving around a bit. I would also consider checking into keeping some weights in your office for part of your hourly plan.

Use "Lunch." DON'T SIT THERE (for too long) (4, Interesting)

QuietRiot (16908) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856566)

Prepare lunch for the next day before you go to sleep. Put in in the fridge.

Jog for 5 minues at soon as you get up and before your shower. Even if it's just around the block. Wake. Throw on shorts (or sweats if it's cold), some old socks (why dirty a new pair?), and a sweater. Go outside and run around the block or down to the corner and back. Then shower and have a good healthy (it can be quick!) breakfast. Bring the CD-R you prepared the night before with an automatic script full of the latest podcasts, TTS news, or random selection from your audio collection - hop in the car and drive. Pick up a friend, coworker, or slug on the way if you can.

Go for a jog around the building when you get to work (after your drive) and before you leave. It can be quick. They'll laugh but you're not the one with the weak legs for weekend activities!

Make good use of your lunch break. Have a sandwich while climbing the stairs to the top of your building.

Promise yourself 20 crunches and 50 pushups before the day is over (how long does it take to do 10 pushups and don't tell me you can't take 5 short breaks over 12 hours...). Set a timer.

Find some pipes in the utility closet and do 5 pullups a day for 2 months. Each month after add 2 more. Do these on a piss break.

Eat Fruit. No heavy lunches. Bring yogurt (if you're into that kind of thing - cold plain vanilla w/ sugar sprinkled on top - delish!) Eat nuts (yes - something _other_ than peanuts).

Do at least an hour or two of non-staring_at_the_computer_screen work if you can help it. Plan. Use a notepad and pencil. Make calls. Write a letter to your congressman or old friend or mother or grandparent or serviceman [grose.us].

10 jumping jacks every 71 minutes. Set a timer.

Go see Jane or Mark on the other side of the building to say hi - find an excuse. Take a walk to the next building or volunteer to take things to the post box. Be back in a timely fashion.

Keep a bottle of water nearby, fill it religiously and get yourself lots of piss breaks. WATER IS GOOD FOR YOU. PASS IT THROUGH. EXERCISE THOSE NEPHRONS [harcourtschool.com]. Get a Brita (a BIG one) for your desk or buy those large 2 1/2 gallon jugs at the supermarket. (Spring over distilled - you lose the minerals with distilled). Water will keep you from feelingl like crap from sitting there all day, force you to get up, and keep you hydrated for all the running and stair-climing you're doing. Water is your body's oil. ESPECIALLY if you drink coffee - drink lots of water. Keep ahead of the diuretic effects. See if you can down a quart and a half of plain water three times a day (sure. go it all at once -- no pussy footin' around. Chug it!)

Take your vitamins.

Find some guys to play pickup basketball or ultimate.

Ask your boss about taking an hour to go to the gym. Give him a guilt trip about your health. Or go at lunch after eating at your desk @ 11a and having an apple and nuts when you get back. You'll probably be more productive if you actually have a chance to get up and be active.

Find a stretch regimen and commit to doing it twice a day.

Park your car not at home but down the street next to a well-lit bike rack. Ride there, drive to work. Drive back, ride home.

Have lots of sex on your 3 days off!

Re:Use "Lunch." DON'T SIT THERE (for too long) (1)

Maskirovka (255712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857717)

See if you can down a quart and a half of plain water three times a day (sure. go it all at once -- no pussy footin' around. Chug it!)

And if you're a soda drinker, try adding Gatorade powder to your water. Made my transition from Mountain Dew more pleasent.

Alternative approach? (1)

E_elven (600520) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856670)

OK, your work days are pretty much spent at work. Use the other three days for your main exercise (generally 3-4 days of exercise per week is well adequate).

It looks like a roundtrip to work, for you, is three hours, so that does give you time to take a short half-an-hour to three-quarter-hour jog/walk around the block (take the wife/kids along, if any) after you get back or before you go, depending on the hours.

Do something at work, too, stand instead of sitting if possible (burns about 300-500 calories compared to sitting and strengthens the midsection), pack your lunch, do yoga on lunchbreak etc.

sleep and schedule (1)

xgamer04 (248962) | more than 9 years ago | (#11856953)

Do you have to work 4 days in a row? I think it would be somewhat easier to receuperate if you worked (for example) 2 days, 1 off, then 2 more. Also, I find that having a consistent sleep schedule helps my body and mind function better than sleeping way in on days off. (I'm still really bad about this one, though)

Investment Banking (4, Interesting)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857045)

I work in finance where probably everyone in the industry knows full well that top bankers get paid in the 7 figures. This compensation is partly because there aren't many bankers who continue to maintain the lifestyle required to be a top performing banker for very many years. A similar case would be oil field workers (who work long hours with few prequisites other than the capacity to work very hard for a lot of hours in good oil years) but humans cannot work 40 years in these fields. The smart ones save enough to retire young or fund a different career, the dumb ones blow the cash on drugs, sex, and fun and while they have some really cool stories are completely burned out at around 40. If you are not saving enough in your current job to successfully transition into something else in 10-20 years leave now.

Ride to work (1)

crazney (194622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857258)

Really. If you are travelling in traffic to work it'll probably take the same time. You'll get fit, healthy and feel great.

Let me get this straight... (3, Insightful)

jgardn (539054) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857284)

You work 12 hours and spend 3 hours on the commute. That's 15 hours. I assume you don't eat breakfast or dinner at work, but you may. But let's say you don't. That leaves 7 hours.

Assume you need abouyt 6-8 hours of sleep a day. Boy, I'm surprised you lasted this long.

You'd better sit down with your boss and have a heart-to-heart. This is going to kill you. You can't do this. Either you have to get a raise so you can move closer to work, or you have to cut back on the hours to a more reasonable 8. Humans aren't machines. We need far more care and uptake and downtime to remain in peak condition.

Boeing did some interesting studies during WWII on maximizing productivity. Guess what they found? 8 hours a day for 5 days a week is the optimal number. That's why throughout the 50s and 60s the jobs were all 9-5. You get more done than 8/6 or 9/5, or what ever you are doing (12/4?) Even firefighters spend a great deal of time sitting around and relaxing and doing non-work things.

Seriously dude. You need to take care of yourself. There's only one of you and if you screw up your body, you don't get a replacement. You die.

get off your *** (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857336)

no seriously.. I have a similar problem. I have recenetly installed 'its time' on my computer. It basically is setup to make me take a 5 minute break every 45 minutes. This makes me get off my butt and take a break. It locks me out of my computer, which can be annoying sometimes. I have managed to deal with it, and everyone at my office knows about this.

If that is to extreme for you, then you need to take the initiative to get off your butt and take breaks. Its your life not your bosses. Ask about telecommuting, or look for another job. A good employer will understand you need to take a break or work at home. If this one doesn't.. we'll watch the movie office space then and get a clue.

10-12 hrs / day 6 days/week @ 43y.o. (2, Interesting)

renehollan (138013) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857382)

I work between 10-12 hours a day about 6 days a week. That's an average week: crunch time will have me working 100-120 hours a week. I've done this for over 20 years and am now 43 years old. My weight is stable, I am not obese (though I don't need to gain any more weight and could probably stand to lose 10-15 pounds), and (this is the most important part), I love my work.

This does not mean that I do not get exhausted at times. I'll take the odd two or even three day weekend if I need to recharge -- on my schedule. I can come in at 10 or 11 or later or whenever I like, for the most part (unless I have an important meeting scheduled) -- my hours are flexible, so if I happen to sleep in an extra hour or 90 minutes, it's no disaster. Yeah, there are the times when I work until 2-3 A.M., or even all night (about 3-4 times a year), and a regular 8 hour day after that.

My commute is better than yours though: only 45 minutes one way.

The thing is that I have control over when I work those hours and that makes all the difference in the word. 4x12 hours a week on the clock would probably be far worse.

What do I do to relax? I take quick frequent breaks at the office, sometimes 5 minutes every 15 to 30. While I'll often be oblivious to the fact that the lunch and dinner hour have passed, I'll go and eat when I feel hungry, regardless of the time (it's rarely noon and 6:00 PM).

Now, I'm not given that much work -- I take it on: trying my best to accomodate feature requests from those that use the software I produce (mostly test automation support tools these days) request (particularly when they are useful to a wider audience), even if they arrive, well, "informally".

I'm an asshole if you get on my bad side, but will bend over backwards to help anyone who's willing to contribute at least half the work. I must be doing something right if the number of "Rene went above and beyond the call of duty to help me" emails my boss (and his) gets are any indication: it's starting to get embarassing. My "self-assessment" on annual reviews is usually far harsher than my boss's -- I don't give a shit if I "exceeded" goals: they could always have been "exceeded" more, and to rest on one's laurels is a death sentence for a software dev. Heck, I code in C# on a .NET platform precisely because I knew nothing about it a year ago. I hold my own. Being a C++ expert gets boring after a while, ya know?

I'm not a "team player": I prefer to stay at work and code up a little utility that would help a bunch of people be more productive, rather than go on "morale events". If I died tomorrow, what would leave a better impact, if globally imperceptible, on the world?

In short, I have no one to blame for my work ethic than myself.

Perhaps that's the difference: I have control over the hours I work, and if I decided that I needed a 2-3 week break (I rarely take more than one week of vacation a year), no one would likely blink an eyelid. I suspect, however, if my hours were regimented, even if they amounted to 40-50 a week, I'd be miserable.

So, I wonder, if part of your problem is misery regarding your working conditions, and a lack of control over them. I don't think anything can really help overcome that, except looking for a better job. I've been in shops like that and utterly miserable too (and not particularly productive).

While I don't always like my job I love my work. Do you love yours?

exercise a little bit (1)

avida (683037) | more than 9 years ago | (#11857703)

My hands used to hurt a lot and I would not be rested from a night's sleep. Then I started eating better and started going to the gym for some weight lifting. Went once a week, taking protein supplements. The exercise and extra muscle eliminated my hand pain and I feel full of energy every day. It is that easy. My gym sessions are only 30 minutes.
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