Sitting is the new culturally accepted bad habit. Americans spend a majority of their hours awake sitting in a chair, and it is becoming more apparent over time how bad this is for our health. Make it your goal to stay active while getting office work done, it will help your body stay healthy.
Get up from your desk as often as your workplace allows (preferably once an hour), and do a lap around your building or around the block. Get your blood moving and take in some fresh air. Making it a routine and continuing to do it, even when the weather isn’t great, will have long term benefits to your health. Some researchers have even suggested that the health effects of chronic sitting may be as harmful to your body as smoking. Making the conscious effort to get up and out of your chair will help reduce your risk of diabetes, weight gain, certain cancers, depression, and unsightly varicose veins.
If you need to give your brain a breather while sitting at your desk, stop checking your Facebook and do a set of ten leg lifts. Sit on the edge of your seat, point your toes and lift both legs to waist height, hold, and bring them back down. It is a nice abdominal workout that doesn’t require you to get up and leave your desk.
Training for a 5K run or marathon can be hard to do when you have a desk job. If you have fitness goals that you are trying to reach, consider bringing tools to your office to allow you to reach them. The Cubii, for example, is an “office wellness product” that allows you keep your legs moving while seated at your desk. There are many different manufacturers of similar products that can help to keep you moving and ward off the effects of a full-time desk job.
Do you get an hour long lunch break? That could be just enough time to take a fitness class at a nearby gym. Most yoga studios, YMCAs, and gyms have lunchtime classes that are 30-45 minutes for this exact reason. No need to skip lunch though; think ahead and make a smoothie to drink after class — so you don’t return to your computer famished and drag through the remainder of your day.
Getting up to refill your water bottle adds more steps that you can get into your day. Consider downsizing your water bottle so you have to get up and move more often throughout your day. You can make sure that you are staying hydrated by setting an alarm on your phone or by putting water cooler meetups for yourself and a coworker on your work calendar.
Change Up Your Chair
If you are sitting in a traditional desk chair, consider changing it up to get your core engaged or just get rid of it altogether. Sitting on a workout ball or ergonomic kneeling chair requires you to stay engaged and active to stay in place. Sitting with correct posture will engage your back and core while you’re typing up those reports for your boss.
Befriend the Treadmill
For those that work at home or have their own office, consider integrating a treadmill into your desk setup. Placing one underneath a stand up desk will allow you to keep moving all day long, if you so choose. If you are in a position to request or purchase one for your company for use in a common area, you should give the gift of movement to your colleagues by doing so ASAP.
Hold Yourself Accountable
It is easy to fall short of your goals, or to fall out of healthy routines when there is no one holding you accountable. Using a FitBit or other fitness tracking tools can allow you to track your progress, or to notice when your activity becomes stagnant, and they are fun to use. You can link them with others to make it a competition or you can recruit one of your co-workers to join in. Although, in the end, staying active must be important to you above anyone else.