Research shows people who sit for eight hours a day have an increased risk of dying, similar to the risk caused by obesity and smoking.
Most of us are aware of the risks of being sedentary, and know that regular exercise lowers the chance of getting cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The challenge is, if you work in an office full time, it’s difficult to be active during the week.
If you’ve been wondering how to stop being sedentary at work, read on for a few simple tips that could trim some fat and improve your health. You might even start a movement and motivate others to be active at your workplace.
#1 Walking Meetings
Informal meetings with only one or two others could easily be taken outside. Why not suggest you give the meeting room a miss and get some fresh air?
Walk around the block or find a nearby park, it doesn’t matter where. Walk and talk to increase your daily step count. If you need to take notes, record the conversation on your phone or write a few notes on a pad to jog your memory once back in the office.
Walking meetings can produce inspiration, not just perspiration. Research shows that walking boosts creativity by 60%!
#2 Set a Timer to Get Up & Move
It’s easy for the hours to fly by when you’re busy. Before you know it, it’s lunch time and you haven’t left your chair all morning.
Some people are more productive when working in short, uninterrupted sprints then taking a break to stretch their legs.
The Pomodoro technique requires you to work uninterrupted for 25 minutes. When the time is up, the Pomodoro rings and you get up to take a short break for a few minutes before setting the timer for another 25 minutes and doing your next task. After four pomodoros, take a longer 20 or 30 minute break to stretch your legs further.
This helps you focus on one task at a time, making you more productive, while making sure you remember to stop and clear your head and stretch your legs.
#3 Stretch at your Desk
It’s not always possible to get up from your desk every 25 minutes. If your job requires you to stay in one place all the time - like at a reception desk - you mighn’t be able to stroll around the office whenever you like. But that’s no excuse for neglecting your muscles.
Stretch your legs and arms, neck and back throughout the day to increase blood flow and help prevent strain injuries. It’s possible to stretch without even leaving your chair.
This article has plenty of stretches you can do while sitting at your desk. We also wrote a guide to wrist and hand exercises to prevent RSI.
#4 Exercise With a Colleague
Many of us need an accountability partner to encourage us to exercise. Ask a colleague if they would like to do some exercise during lunch, before or after work. It might be a simple walk or it could be as strenuous as a run or gym session. Decide on an exercise that interests you both and agree on a timetable then promise not to let the other down! Leave a pair of runners at the office if you need to change shoes so there’s no excuse.
#5 Make Your Commute Count
If you find it difficult to stay active at your desk job, perhaps you can get fit getting to and from the office. If you take the bus, catch it from a stop further away or park your car further from the office. Even if you park at the door, give yourself time to walk around the block before you go in each morning. Your heart and muscles will thank you and so will your brain. Make it part of your everyday routine and you will have a new habit before you know it. Think about how much extra physical activity you can fit in over the year.
#6 Use a Sit Stand Desk
Many officer workers ask themselves how can I not sit down all day? The answer is as simple as a sit stand desk. It’s best to use desks that are quick and easy to raise and lower to encourage you to alternate between standing and sitting throughout the day.
The latest research shows it’s optimal to spend one hour standing for every one to two hours sitting. Moving between sitting and standing every hour is one of the best ways for you work actively the entire day.
If you’re unsure about where to start with sit stand desks, see our Standing Desk Buyers Guide.
#7: Organise a Team Sport at Lunch or After Work
If you work near a park why not organise a quick game of soccer or touch rugby at lunch time? You could make it a regular event and invite customers, turning it into a fun networking event.
After-work social sports leagues are another option e.g. indoor soccer, mixed netball or indoor beach volleyball. As well as the health benefits of getting more exercise you might enjoy the mental health benefits of extending your social circle, being more connected and getting to know colleagues better outside of work.
If you need help with height adjustable desks and other ergonomic furniture, visit the Ergolink showroom, call us on (08) 9240 7066 or contact us online.