It’s no surprise that many people have jobs that require us to sit at desks or around conference tables for several hours each day. Adults can spend more than half of their entire workday sitting down! All that time spent sitting down could be detrimental to your physical and mental health, even if you spend time exercising before or after work.
Why is it bad to sit or stand for too long?
Prolonged periods of sitting are likely related to health risks such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer. Without continuous movement, the body stiffens up and stops working optimally leaving room for brain fog, lack of energy and decreased productivity.
Have no fear, it’s not all doom and gloom – to achieve good health, experts recommend walking at least 10,000 steps a day – Yikes! For those of us who work in sedentary office jobs, this can sometimes seem like an intimidating challenge.
So, how do we incorporate more movement into our workday?
Anna Dalaire from Fit and Flirty (and long time GBC member) has some awesome tips on how to add more activity into your daily routine:
GBC: How do you incorporate movement throughout your workday?
Anna: A few ideas, walk to work (if possible) or take the stairs rather than elevator or escalator. Setting up lunch workout or walk with a coworker is a great to stay accountable and motivated. Personally, I make a point of walking to all my meetings, in heels!
GBC: What type of stretches or exercises can benefit someone who sits at a desk all day?
Anna: Stretching is so important for the body and can easily be done at your desk or office space. It can help prevent fatigue and stress, reduce the risk of strains and sprains, especially in the neck, shoulders and back and improve posture and boost energy levels.
GBC: How do you stay motivated to get physical (or take a break) during work?
Anna: Personally, I would not use the word motivated because when I’m focused, I could stay at my desk for 12 hours, but my body will tell me YOU NEED TO GET UP! So, I will either go get a coffee or take a quick 5-minute break and go walk around. I think the key is to be in tune with yourself, listen and give your body what it’s asking for.
GBC: Any last suggestions for integrating more movement into our workday routines?
Anna: Consume lots of water, hydration is key and at the very will at least you will have to walk to the bathroom every few hours. If possible, get outside, even just for 5-10 minutes or to grab a coffee. Fresh air does wonders to clear the mind and reset your focus!
Move More Challenge – March is a great time to start
Interspersing short movements and exercises throughout the workday can boost energy, engagement and efficiency, says sports scientist Jack Groppel (who holds a Ph.D. in exercise physiology from Florida State University and co-founded the Human Performance Institute).
Whether it’s stretching periodically in your office or walking to a coworker’s desk rather than sending that intra-office email, small actions can go a long way toward improving individual wellness and company performance.
All work and no play is just as bad as all play and no work. When coworkers have some time to move around the workplace or take a lunchtime class together, employee relationships get stronger and the interactions can make their work more enjoyable.
While regular exercise is beneficial and taking breaks from static positioning is valuable, an ideal solution is to have an environment that embraces and encourages continuous movement throughout the day.
No matter how you work it into your routine, you’ll find that a little bit of activity goes a long way in improving your workplace mentality — and, it’ll go a long way for your health, too!