At a Desk all Day? Here's How to Add More Movement in Your Day
Photo © Justyn Warner
The saying “sitting is the new smoking” might not be as crazy as it sounds. Between the commute to work, office hours, meal time, television time and relaxing time, many of us are spending the majority of their day in a sedentary position. Unfortunately, long periods of inactivity raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
“Sitting disease” is real, and it refers to the harmful effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle. Studies show that the average American spends 55 per cent of their time, or 7.7 hours, in an inactive position. You can calculate the time that you spend sitting every day with this sitting-time calculator. Luckily, we have found five tricks to beat the sedentary lifestyle to get you up, and moving again.
1. Take the Stairs
We know you have probably heard this a thousand times. But in all seriousness, skip the elevator and take the stairs. It is a quick-fix to adding more movement to your day. Plus, the vertical component of taking the stairs gives your movement a little more hype and productivity. The body uses 8 to 11 kcal per minute climbing stairs, which is higher than any other moderate cardio.
While you are at it, don’t snag the parking spot that is closest to the building. Park toward the end of the parking lot, and enjoy your walk to the office before you are stuck sitting inside for eight hours.
2. Stand up and Stretch
Standing uses more muscles than sitting; thus, it burns more calories. Standing increases energy, blood flow and metabolism. Not to forget that it improves the slouchy posture that sitting for prolonged periods of time can cause. Although it is frequently overlooked, standing is a simple change to improve the sedentary lifestyle.
Do some easy yoga poses to get the blood flowing. Interlock your fingers and stretch your arms above your head to release tension in your arms. During conference calls, pace throughout your office. These may not seem like a lot, but the constant moving will get the blood flowing to your brain and calories burning.
3. Make a Point to Move Every Hour
It doesn’t have to be a long trek down the street. Simply make a point to walk to the water fountain. Take a stroll around the office. Refresh your caffeine addiction, and grab a quick cup of coffee from the breakroom.
These simple tasks will give you a change of scenery to stimulate the mind and motivate you to produce your best work. Just taking five minutes to move your muscles every hour will give you an extra 40 minutes of movement in your workday.
4. Request Standing Desks at Work
The sitting-disease can improve with corporate culture. 67 per cent of office workers wish that their employers offer sit-stand desks to give the option of working on their feet or sitting down. Standing gives your brain a more significant edge because it is forcing your brain to work harder. Not only is the mind focusing on the work task at hand, but standing makes the brain focus on balance, stability and muscle contractions. These extra tasks put a slight dose of manageable stress on the brain, which improves cognitive capabilities.
According to studies, a 143 pound American would burn an extra 54 calories a day if they stood while they worked.
5. Implement a Lunchtime Workout
Experts say that the lunch-workout combination is the most effective way to implement a healthy lifestyle. Any sudden burst of movement will act as a midday pick-me-up to get you through the rest of the workday. Of course, you don’t have to run a marathon, max out your squat or do anything crazy. Just making a point to get to a gym, jump on a treadmill for 20 minutes and guzzle some water is the perfect lunchtime exercise.