For many people, work means sitting and being sedentary in front of a computer at a desk all day. Recent studies have shown that this can be worse for your health than you might think, even if you are active outside of work. It can even cancel out daily exercise routines. So what can you do to stay active and healthy all day?
Take a Break
Getting up more from your desk during the day can be good for your health and your sanity. Research has shown that frequent small breaks can make most people more productive and they can help keep your waistline in check. Taking a walk at lunch is also a great way to sneak exercise into a busy schedule. It gets you outside and gives you a mental break from work.
Even just doing 20 squats every few hours can get your blood pumping and increase your thought processes while working. Squats primarily work the muscles of the thighs, hips and buttocks, quads and hamstrings.
Stretch it Out
If you can’t get away, take a break at your desk. Get up and stretch your muscles. Reach for the sky, bounce a couple times on your tip toes and then bend over to touch your toes. This helps relieves the tension in your shoulders and back.
If you can make adjustments at your desk or in your office, standing is better for you than sitting. Standing breaks at your desk can be better for your back, strengthen your leg muscles and improve your balance. It also burns more calories than sitting. Start by standing for 15-20 minutes every couple hours and gradually increase the frequency as you get more comfortable. You can even request a standing desk at your office.
Climb Some Stairs
If there are stairs in your building, take a 5-minute break and climb a few flights. It’ll get your blood flowing, warm up your muscles, and allow you to clear your mind. If you have a friend in the office it’ll also give you a chance to catch up with them while increasing your heart rate.
Exercise balls have become more popular at work. Because an exercise ball isn’t stable, you’re using your core muscles and legs to help compensate for changes in balance. Thus, you’re essentially getting a low-key workout. Start with 5-10 minutes an hour and slowly increase the amount of time on the ball to avoid muscle fatigue and cramping. For tips on choosing the right ball and additional exercises you can do, check out this page.
These simple changes in your work day, in addition to swapping sugar for sucralose (Splenda) in food and drinks, can help lower blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol and waist size. Do you want to know how many calories these activities burn? Try out the Get Moving calculator!