Spoiler Alert: Our bodies weren’t meant to sit for long periods of time, never mind 8-10 hours at once! From posture problems and tight muscles, to increased weight gain and chronic health conditions, it’s understandable how working a desk job can be damaging to your overall health and wellbeing.
Just how damaging? Studies show that too much sitting may even lead to an earlier death! In collective data from over 1 million people, the most sedentary people had a 22-49% greater risk of early death!
So, just how long are people sitting? Turns out that sedentary living extends beyond the workplace into “relax time” for many people – with the typical office worker sitting up to 15 hours per day! That’s in contrast to the typical agricultural worker that only sits about 3 hours per day.
With that being said, a large portion of the “sitting” most people do is at work. Yet, there are many things you can do throughout your workday to decrease sitting time and increase movement. Here are our top 5 tips that you should consider putting into place daily...
1. Try Standing While You Work
Now, to some people, this may not sound that appealing, but there is a growing trend towards standing desks at work – and a large benefit to them. So, if your office gives you an option to get an adjustable standing desk, this is a must!
Standing desks are a simple way to get yourself out of your chair for a significant portion of the day, or even the entire time you’re in the office. It might take some time to build up to standing all day, but practicing in intervals (something like 10 minutes each hour) is a great starting point.
Along with helping you burn more calories each day, and helping to ward off potential disease associated with too much sitting, standing while working can also help combat fatigue and increase concentration.
2. Take Walking Breaks
Staying active does not have to be complicated. If you can, breaking up your workday with a 20-30 minute walk outside or even throughout your office building is an easy way to stay active at work. In addition, it can also act as a “brain break” to help you keep productivity stable when you’re back on the clock.
Bonus: If you have the time, try fitting in a quick workout at a nearby gym! Or, even in your office! If you have some privacy, you can do a quick 10-15 minute floor routine using some simple home workout equipment.
3. Move Your Way Through Meetings
Have a work call? Need to meet with someone in the office? Ditch your conference room and take it outside for some fresh air and exercise. It’s a simple way to get some mindless activity while doing your everyday work tasks. And it’s enjoyable! Multi-tasking for the win!
4. Set A Timer For Success
Sometimes, staying active at work is just a matter of making it a priority. So, grab your phone and set an interval timer on a schedule that works for you. Every time the timer goes off, give your body some movement by taking a quick walk or doing some stretching. You can even make it fun by getting a group of people in your office to do it with you!
5. Fit In Sneaky Stretches
Start small! If you’re not ready to take the extra time out of your day to get up and move around, you can start by doing minor movements or stretches in your chair. Lift your legs, stretch your arms, circle your neck… These are all things you can do to get the blood flowing without disrupting your workday.
Another idea? Swap out your regular work chair for a yoga ball for part or all of the day. You can tone and strengthen your core while improving your posture and balance – all while being productive!
Remember, the hardest part is usually getting started and changing up your normal routine. But once you do it, you may find that you have more energy, and are much more productive when you get up out of your chair!