Sitting at a desk all day can have devastating effects on your health in the long run. In this post I’ll share my top 7 tips to stay active at work and how to stay healthy!
Ever since I was little, I’ve loved being active. I played different sports (volleyball being my favorite!), walked to and from class and even my after school jobs required me to be standing and walking around most of the time.
However, today, I find it incredibly challenging to be active during the day when so much of my time is spent sitting at my desk, whether it’s at home or in the office. I also have a tendency to get so focused on my work that I can sit for hours on end without taking a break or moving and that leads to neck, shoulder and back pain and occasionally a headache, which is never fun.
Negative side effects of sitting
Today’s society is built for sitting. We sit in front of the TV, we sit in our car to get to and from work, we sit at our desks all day and we do it all over again the next day.
The human body is designed perfectly to freely stand, walk, bend, squat, lie down, roll, etc, not to sit for 8+ hours a day.
Research shows it:
- hurts your heart,
- leads to weight gain,
- increases the likelihood of diabetes,
- increases blood pressure,
- and so much more.
Benefits of adding exercise to your work day
Aside from preventing the negative side effects mentioned above, there are many benefits to incorporating some movements and exercice during your work day. Chances are you will:
- be more creative,
- feel refreshed and awake,
- avoid the after lunch slump,
- increase your mood,
- decrease your chances of having health issues down the line.
So, how can you incorporate more movement into your day and stay active and healthy?
Here are my tips:
7 simple ways to stay active at work
Here are 7 simple ways to stay active at work that anyone can do. They are easy to implement and don’t require a lot of time and investment.
1. Practice the Walk and Talk
A walking meeting or phone call is done while walking instead of sitting down in your office or conference room. Not only is this good for your heart, studies show that it’s also good for brainstorming and creative thinking!
2. Invest in a standing desk
Standing desks have become pretty popular these last few years and for good reason. Aside from enabling you to dance while you work, standing burns more calories than sitting (check out this calorie burning calculator). Sit/stand desks are my favorite because I can choose when to sit and when to stand during the day.
Here are great options:
3. Stand up and stretch
Every 60 minutes, take a break, stand up and do some stretches. Focus on your neck, shoulders, back, wrists and hips.
For those who need a reminder to take breaks, check out Break Timer. It’s a Chrome addon that allows you to customize the length of your work and break periods.
You may feel awkward at first doing stretches at work but it is so worth the weird looks you get from your co-workers! It will also give a much needed break from looking at your computer screen :)
4. Sit on a stability ball in intervals
Sitting on a stability ball for a few minutes at a time can improve your stability and balance and engage your core abdominal muscles. The most important part is to be mindful enough to keep your core engaged and sit with proper posture on the ball and then sit back in your chair.
However, I don’t recommend using a stability ball all day because most of us end up slouching on our ball instead of maintaining good posture. So use the ball in intervals instead of for hours at a time.
Here are some of my favorites:
5. Take the stairs
Instead of getting in the crowded elevator, take the stairs (unless you work on the 40th floor 😉 ). Treat the elevators and escalators as the enemy!
6. Walk to see your co-workers
You have a question to ask your co-worker? If possible, get up and walk over to them instead of sending them an email, instant messaging or calling them.
Aside from moving more, you can create better relationships with your co-workers!
7. Take an active lunch break
Even if you don’t have a long lunch break, use that time to get outside and get some fresh air! Take a walk, go for a run, anything to get your body moving. Invite your coworkers to go with you (it’s so much more fun to do with others!).
Walk or ride your bike to work if possible. This is a great way to get some exercise, breathe fresh air and it creates a space where you can have a true break before coming home from work.
Don’t start by trying all of it at once. That’s the best way to get discouraged and end up not doing any of them after a while.
Start by setting a small goal. For example, start by trying to walk 30 minutes per day when at work. That could mean 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon, or 6 times five minutes to go see colleagues.
Every step counts and the most important thing is to take action, That is how you stay active at work!
There you have it, 7 ways to stay active at work. Try out some of these and figure out which ones work best for you and most importantly, have fun with it!
What do you do to stay active at work? I’d love to hear from you!
Till next time,