Today’s jobs are increasingly sedentary, driven by technology that enables more sitting and less moving. You’ve probably heard that “sitting is the new smoking” when it comes to your health. Research has linked sitting for long periods of time to high blood pressure, difficulty regulating blood sugar, and slowing metabolism — all leading to an increased risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The longer you sit, the worse it gets.
So, there’s no time like the present to get moving. (Start by standing while you read the rest of this blog.)
Take a break every 30 minutes.
Set a 30-minute recurring countdown timer during your workday and stand for 5 minutes each time it goes off. It seems intuitive that you would remember to move in order to combat being sedentary, but if you’re like most workers, it’s easy to become hyper-focused on a task and before you know it, hours pass without a break from sitting.
Get flexible — with an adjustable desk.
If you work from home and are consistently at your desk, consider buying a desk that adjusts up and down and alternate between 30-minute intervals of sitting and standing. If you don’t have an adjustable desk, improvise with a high table or countertop.
Walk while you talk.
If you have a lot of conference calls, try to walk while you’re on them. Walk up and down stairs, around your living room, or even outside.
Move more while sitting.
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that those who fidget or continue to move while sitting show improved vascular function compared to those who don’t move while sitting. One way to introduce movement while sitting is to sit on an exercise ball. Sitting on a ball causes more movement and trunk muscle activation — and can improve posture as an added benefit.
Work for your coffee.
In addition to reengineering your desk and chair, place your printer, coffee maker and waste basket in another room so that you’re forced to get up regularly. A study by Clemson University revealed that these simple adjustments can increase motivation, morale and problem-solving capabilities.
Stop eating lunch (at your desk).
Many employees work through lunch or eat lunch at their desks. Instead, take a pledge to stop eating lunch at your desk. Get up to get or make your lunch and eat away from your desk. This simple change will increase your daily movement.
Schedule mini movement sessions.
Even a few minutes of movement per day is better than none. At WAHVE, the health and wellbeing of our employees is a priority, and we like to ensure that simple, entertaining and effective movement is regularly incorporated into the work week. All employees are invited to participate in 7-minute virtual workout sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Even if your company doesn’t offer something similar, you can incorporate mini movement sessions into your workday and fill them with simple yoga stretches, calf raises, light weightlifting, or arm circles.
Most studies show that these tips to improve your level of activity increase blood flow to the brain and result in higher levels of creativity, more positive interaction with coworkers, and higher satisfaction rates with work tasks.
Humans were built to stand and move. Your heart, cardiovascular system and digestive system function more efficiently when you are upright. Incorporating one or all of these tips will help you combat the dangers of a sedentary workstyle.