It’s not a secret to anyone that moving more helps you stay healthy. But if you’re like many people, you may be wondering how you’re going to fit that activity into an already over-packed day.
Even if you already make it a priority to get to the gym after work or go for a jog before you get your day started, research has shown that sitting for long periods of time is a risk factor for early death. Sitting too long can also make you lazy and lethargic and may even negatively affect your concentration and productivity. So there’s lots of incentive to find ways to be more active throughout the day.
If you’re ready to move more during your sedentary 9-to-5 job, here are 9 things you can do:
- Stand up. Instead of sitting while you’re on the phone or reading a memo, get on your feet. Standing is better than sitting, even if it doesn’t constitute serious physical activity. Some offices have installed standing desks or you can simply stand when doing activities that don’t require you to be at your keyboard.
- Stretch often. Anytime you have a few minutes, do some light stretches. These can be done at your desk while you’re on the phone, reading an email or taking a break. Not only does it get the blood flowing and your body moving, but it helps reduce strain and pain.
- Skip the email. Get into the habit of walking to a co-worker’s desk whenever possible instead of emailing or calling. You’ll get in a few steps and, as an added bonus, can often avoid a back-and-forth email chain.
- Do you spend lots of time on the phone? Get up and pace around your office, do squats or move in another manner that doesn’t draw too much attention from your co-workers. Wearing a headset prevents the strain that comes from leaning the phone on your shoulder as you move.
- Stock your desk. Keep a set of light hand weights or resistance bands in your desk drawer and use them throughout the day. Phone calls are again a great time to do some weight-lifting exercises.
- Schedule walking meetings. Have a meeting as you walk around the office or in the parking lot on a nice day, rather than sitting around a conference table. Everyone involved will get a chance to stretch, move their legs and get in some activity while still being productive.
- Find the farthest bathroom. If you work in an office with multiple restrooms, skip the one closest to your desk and instead visit one as far away as possible. Better yet, go to one on a different floor and take the steps instead of the elevator.
- Bring your sneakers to work. Even if your office environment isn’t conducive to moving around while you work, you still get time for lunch and that’s the perfect time to get moving. Put on your sneakers and take a walk rather than lingering over your food.
- Set a timer. It’s easy to get caught up in your day so set a timer on your phone for every 30-60 minutes as a reminder to get up, stretch or move.