Research has linked sitting too long with numerous health concerns—from obesity to lower mortality. Some people have jobs that require sitting, however, there are ways to help get you off the chair and improve your overall health.
A study of over a million people showed that just 60-75 minutes a day of moderate exercise can counteract the effects of sitting, so try adding some of the below tips to your schedule. Even if you don’t see or feel health improvements, know that you are doing something good for you. It all starts with awareness.
- Every time you take a phone call at work, stand up rather than sitting at your desk.
- Set a timer for 30 minutes and when it rings, stand for 2-3 minutes.
- Better than standing, when that timer rings, if possible, do a tiny bit of movement, like 10-20 squats or lunges, to get your circulation going.
- When lunchtime comes, don’t eat at your desk. Make it a habit to walk to the furthest place to eat, be it cafeteria or restaurant. If you brown bag it, walk to somewhere you can eat, rather than just staying put at your desk.
- Use the rest of your lunch break for light exercise. Try additional walking or 15 minutes of yoga.
- If you have a space that works, purchase a standing desk. They are getting more popular for a reason. There are even treadmill desks!
- Consider an exercise ball as an office chair. They can improve posture and activate core muscles. Even if you still use a regular chair, adding the exercise ball an hour a day can switch things up.
- Keep a mini stepper in your office and once an hour, if possible, get on it for 5 minutes (or more). Some people can even read notes while on a stepper.
- You’ve heard this one before, but it’s a good one. Always take the stairs at your office. No elevators.
- Park as far as you safely can from your workplace to get a little walk in each day, both ways.
- Join a local gym, and if you get an hour lunch, spend half at the gym on a treadmill.
- Make sure to get in extra exercise before or after work, whether at the gym, yard work at home, walking the dog after dinner, or however you can. Shoot for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity a week.
- Invest in a fitness tracker. Not only may they motivate you to get those steps in and hit your goals, but you can also program many of them to vibrate to remind you when you’ve been inactive too long. New model Fitbits will buzz if you don’t hit 250 steps in an hour. And let’s face it, 250 is very low, so those reminders are a good thing. Some also offer challenges with friends to keep you extra motivated.