If you’re like me, you spend the majority of your day sitting in an office chair. Think about it. How often do you get up and leave the confines of your computer/desk in a typical work day? I bet if you count them up, it probably amounts to a morning and afternoon break, a bathroom trip here and there and maybe lunch. That’s it! The rest of the time you’re hunkered down sitting in that chair. Plus we’re not even including the time you spend commuting to/from work each day via train, bus or automobile.
Let’s face it; most offices today are inactive work environments by nature. Cubicles, desks and conference tables persuade us to sit for hours at a time. How can this be beneficial to a society that already faces an obesity problem? Obviously it’s not.
And to make matters worse, a recent study¹ on more than one million adults found that sitting for at least eight hours a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60 percent. Those individuals who sat for eight hours a day, but were physically active, had a much lower risk of premature death compared with people who sat for fewer hours a day, but were not active.
So what can you do today to get off that chair and make your work day more active? The good news is that there are simple things you can incorporate into your daily schedule at work to promote active movement. The key is being committed to making it part of your everyday routine.
Here are some suggestions:
- Move between 5-10 minutes every hour (set up a reminder on your PC or phone)
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Stand during a phone call
- Talk to colleagues in person rather than sending emails, IM or calling
- Walk around the building, block, floor at least once a day
- Hold “walking meetings” (take/record notes with your phone)
- Don’t use the closest bathroom, walk to one on the other side of the building or on another floor
- Stretch or exercise – here are some samples…
- desk lean pushups
- knee lifts
- leg raises
- neck rolls
- shoulder blade squeeze
- shoulder rolls
- side lunge
- standing calf raise
- walk in place
- Stand during meetings (the plus side – shorter more focused meetings!)
By changing our work style from one that is sedentary to one of active movement we can have a positive effect on our own physical, mental and emotional well-being. Most of us will experience a multitude of benefits including increased concentration, attentiveness, better intellectual execution and more energy. Ultimately this leads to overall improved performance for you and your organization.
So start creating your active movement today. You’ll be happier and healthier for it!
¹ The Lancet