Sitting all day at work is associated with an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes. It appears that even a daily workout won’t counteract the risk caused by occupational sitting. A recent study conducted by Steven Blair at the University of South Carolina found that men who sat for more than 23 hours per week had an increased risk of dying from heart disease even though many were regular exercisers.
These findings make it more important than ever to squeeze in activity throughout your day. Here are 9 ways to get moving and reduce your risk.
Wear comfortable shoes. No, this isn’t exactly exercise, but the more comfortable your shoes, the more likely you will be to move in them. At the very least, keep a pair of tennis shoes in your office.
Stand and walk while you read and talk. How many times a day are you talking on a cell phone, or reading a paper report? Stand up while you read or talk. If you have the space, pace around your office. Every step counts!
Take the long way to the bathroom. Use the stairs to visit the bathroom on the floor above or below you. If the only bathroom is close by, take one lap around the interior of the building before going back to your seat.
Stretch every hour. Stand up at least once every hour. Stretch your arms over your head and breathe deeply. If standing isn’t an option, do seated stretching and extend your legs on the floor out in front of you. Gently bend over to touch your toes.
Stand up and check your email. How many times do you check your email each day? Timothy Ferris, author of the book The 4-Hour Workweek, suggests checking no more than two times per day to increase productivity. If you aren’t quite there yet, use it to your advantage.
Take 10 at lunch. Devote 10 minutes of your lunch break to activity. Climb the stairs, walk around the parking lot, or practice simple yoga poses in your office.
Schedule walking meetings. Soon to be gone are the days of sitting around a boardroom table for hours. Group walking is a popular way to hold professional meetings while also being active. If your office has sidewalks or walking trails nearby, encourage the group to walk together as you discuss issues and brainstorm solutions.
Workout to a Webinar. If you find yourself sitting in on a Webinar or teleconference that needs your ears, but not your active participation, get moving. Keep exercise bands or a yoga mat in your office. Stand up and perform a few light exercises as you listen to the conversation.
Use chair yoga. It is possible to be more active without moving from your seat. Chair yoga is an easy way to promote balance and flexibility while getting the blood flowing.