These days, many Americans have jobs that require sitting for extended periods of time. Sitting for prolonged periods, however, is linked to a higher risk of disease and premature death, according to the American Cancer Society. If your job requires you to sit for hours, take these simple steps to stay more active while at work.
Sit on an exercise ball
Most desk chairs encourage slouching, which leads to bad posture. Swapping your chair out for an exercise ball can eliminate this problem. According to American Fitness Professionals and Associates, sitting on an exercise ball at work can help alleviate back pain and promote a stronger core, since you have to actively work to keep yourself balanced. If you have some down time, you can also use the exercise ball to perform basic core exercises, such as crunches and back extensions.
Use a sit/stand workstation
If your office will allow it, use a sit/stand workstation rather than a static desk. A 2015 study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine recommended that workers stand for at least two hours of their work day, extending that gradually to four hours. A sit/stand workstation makes it easier to meet that goal.
While sitting too much is bad for your health, so is standing still. The American Cancer Society suggests looking for ways to incorporate more walking into your day. Rather than meeting in a conference room, suggest a walking meeting. Use a bathroom or a printer that’s further away from your desk than your usual one. Or, if your office is small, set an alarm on your phone to get up and move every hour, even if it’s just to the coffee machine or water cooler.
Take the stairs
It can be tempting to jump on the elevator when you get to work in the morning, but taking the stairs is healthier and typically doesn’t take much longer. Depending on how many flights of stairs you need to climb to get to your desk, you might start off climbing a couple of flights and then take the elevator for the rest of your journey. Over time, you can work up to taking all the stairs every day.
Take an active lunch
It can be hard to find time to exercise before or after work, so consider slotting your workout into your lunch hour instead. Some offices have on-site gyms you can use, or you could join a gym close to your work. If neither of these are options, use your lunch break to go for a walk outside. This will give you a good mental break from your day as well as a physical break.
Staying active at work doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does require you to be more intentional and create some new habits. Start with these suggestions and see if you can come up with some other creative ideas that work for you.