The evolution of the way we live and work today has made people less and less active. Driving to work, sitting for a long time at work, lying down as soon as you get home, is this the daily state you are familiar with or even experiencing?
As a result, more and more people’s bodies are in a sub-health state, and the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and back and neck problems will greatly increase.
If you think going to the gym after sitting all day at work is a thorough solution, the bad news is that according to Caroline King-Widdall, MD, a family medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Salem, Oregon, our bodies are designed for movement, so even regular exercise can’t counteract the damaging effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
To break out of this monotonous, unhealthy routine, follow these 6 simple tips to stay active and increase movement for long-term health without interrupting your work during the day.
1. Set a break reminder
Setting a reminder time for breaks is an easy and efficient way to get more movement. Use your phone to remind you of activities every hour, such as an hour of work and a 5-10 minute break.
Getting up and moving around or doing light stretches can help counter the adverse effects of prolonged sitting, such as pain, stiffness, and muscle imbalances. It can also help increase your energy expenditure.
2. Pace around the office
Walking meetings are changing the traditional work scene. Meetings while walking not only start “brainstorming”, stimulates the collision of ideas, improves team cohesion, but also gets more exercise throughout the day. Meetings on the move can benefit everyone.
Whenever you get a call at work, try pacing around the room instead of staying in your seat.
3. Replace with ergonomic office furniture
If pacing for a few hours is too challenging for you, try alternating between sitting and standing. Standing burns some extra calories compared to sitting. There are other benefits, such as a reduced risk of disease and mortality.
Setting a regular desk to a standing desk is indeed a more manageable option. Standing for just a few hours a day can also improve your health over time.
In addition, you can purchase an ergonomic chair to avoid back pain or physical strain caused by prolonged sitting. Or try swapping out an office chair for an exercise ball. Balancing on the ball helps strengthen your core because you no longer rely on the back of the chair to stay upright.
4. Do desk exercises
Don’t overlook the benefits of exercising at work. Even if you can’t attend a walking meeting or swap out your traditional desk for a standing desk, you can find ways to exercise in the office—you can even do it while sitting at your desk. As we mentioned above, with an exercise ball, you can work your abs, legs, chest… Putting resistance bands and dumbbells near your desk can also do some for your back, neck, and hands to help you stay active and burn calories during the workday.
5. Make good use of your lunchtime
Divide lunchtime into eating time and walking time.
While eating at your desk may seem more productive at work, a walking lunch can help keep you energized for the rest of the workday.
If you have extra time for lunch, consider taking a walk outside. Taking a walk after a meal can help control blood sugar levels.
6. Create walking opportunities
If you live close to your company, start walking to work instead of driving.
If you have to drive to work, try parking farther away to increase the number of steps in and out of the building.
If the floor is not high enough, give up the elevator and take the stairs as much as possible. The health benefits of stair climbing are numerous and can burn three times the calories of standing or light walking. In addition, stair walking exercises can improve your cardiorespiratory fitness, reduce the risk of disease, and improve your health.
Instead of doing all of the above tips at once, just add one or two new habits at a time and build on them, incorporating them into your daily routine to keep your body moving throughout the workday and improve your overall health.