I think by now, it is pretty clear that sitting for long periods of time isn’t a healthy way to live. Some have even compared its effect to that of smoking!
In many respects, sitting is just about the worst way you could spend your day if you’re concerned about major illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. (Not to mention the back pain that comes with it.)
However, many of us work jobs that keep us tied to our desks. In that case, what can you do?
It’s time to explore a little workplace exercise.
First things first, you need to set intentions for your day. How do you want to spend it? Sedentary and with a stiff back? Or energized and relaxed?
Set a strategy for movement throughout the day. Will you opt for a single, long break (say, at a local yoga class) over your lunch hour? Or are you more interested in pursuing quick stretch/walk breaks every half an hour or so?
Create a schedule you can follow. A good goal is 10 minutes of activity per hour, however you slice it.
Here are some ideas to get your wheels turning:
1) Grab a cup of coffee.
Sometimes workplace activity can be as simple as leaving your desk for a few minutes. Stand up and enjoy the bit of time away from your chair.
2) Get the mail.
It may feel like a chore, but this little escape can do wonders for your back. Volunteer to walk down to the mailbox.
3) Walk down the hall to chat with your neighbor.
Email has made one-on-one conversations and brainstorming somewhat a thing of the past. Sometimes we email someone just an office or two down from us! Skip the digital message and walk over to talk to them instead.
4) Stretch your shoulders, upper arms, chest and wrists.
Stretching here and there makes an incredible difference. This round, focus on your upper body and shoulders, as well as your wrists (which can get pretty tense after hours of typing on a keyboard.) Don’t skimp on this; take your time!
5) Do a few calf raises.
Stand up and lift your body up on the balls of your feet to exercise your calves. Try doing 20-30 to start.
6) Walk the stairs a time or two.
Skip the elevator and take the stairs to your floor. Then during the day, take a break here and there to walk them. This will keep your heart rate up for a while, as well as give you a nice full body workout.
7) Try a few wall pushups and a wall sit or two.
Lean your back against a sturdy wall with your feet planted about two feet in front of you. Bend your knees to squat, then straighten them back up. This will engage your abs, strengthen your back, and help with breath support.
8) Stretch your lower back and reach for the sky.
Keeping good posture, lean to the side and reach your arm over head to stretch your ribs and waist. Then reach up to touch the ceiling for a few beats.
9) Stand while you think.
Reviewing some data? Considering a problem that needs solving? Just do it while standing. It may even help engage your mind better in the task at hand.
10) Do a chin tuck, side neck stretch and head turn.
With good posture, reach your head down to touch your chin to chest. Feel the stretch in the back of your neck. Then do the same side to side, turning your head like you are slowly shaking your head ‘no.’
These little tips may feel like nothing, but when combined together you could easily reach an hour’s worth of activity for the day!