Sitting down feels so good—how can it be dangerous? It’s been long understood prolonged sitting is detrimental to our health and with sedentary jobs increasing almost 83 percent since 1950 according to the American Heart Association, many of us are at risk. Add in the longer workdays of today’s workforce and most Americans are experiencing high levels of inactivity nearly every day.
Park far away or walk to work.
It’s the obvious tip, but a great way to get more movement into every day. If you live in an area that supports walking to work, make that part of your routine. If not, park at the end of the parking lot, to get a few extra steps at the beginning and end of your day. Opt for the stairs in lieu of the elevator, too. Telecommuters: mimic the office environment and commit to a ten-minute walk outdoors at the beginning and end of the day or some other kind of daily movement ritual. Pop on a pedometer to track steps and work toward increasing them.
Get “office” exercise.
If you’re like most people, you spend the majority of your day glued to your computer screen or tied to the phone. Mix things up and move your body by having more person-to-person conversations during your day. Walk to a co-worker’s office to chat instead of emailing or instant messaging, stand up during phone calls and while answering simple emails, if possible. At the very least, when sitting for long hours, be sure to get up and change your position often.
You get so much more done when you eat lunch at your desk, right? Maybe not. The brainstorming and creativity boost that comes from a brisk walk or eating with others likely outweighs the extra minutes of work time at your desk. You may also eat more mindlessly while your thoughts stray from nutrition to work. Carve out a quick 10 or 20 minutes of every lunch break to walk around your building or block. Your body will thank you!
Get serious and set a timer.
We all walk around with personal alarm clocks in our pockets. Put yours to great use. Set an alarm to go off every one or two hours during your workday. If you haven’t moved recently when the buzzer sounds, get up and stretch, grab a co-worker and make a loop or two of your floor or walk up and down a flight of stairs. If you work at home, take a quick walk around the block or throw in a load of laundry. The point is get up and move. Your health may depend on it.