So many jobs require us to sit at a desk for hours on end and it may only take a few weeks of inactivity before you experience some negative effects from being glued to your computer.
But having a sedentary job needn’t compromise your health and fitness. Here are four ways to counteract all that sitting and to keep up your physical and mental well-being.
1: Make Lunch Breaks Active
Believe it or not, sitting down all day can be downright exhausting! And before you know it, you may find yourself in a sneaky spiral of unhealthiness. To help snap yourself out of this physical and mental funk, one thing you can do is plan for your lunch breaks to be active.
Something as simple as getting outside and circling the building a few times can shake out the cobwebs and bring your mood and energy back up. If you buy your lunch, see if you can walk to a nearby deli or grocery store during your break – remember to throw some sneakers into your bag or briefcase in the morning.
2: Take the Stairs, and Park Further Away
Again, if you find yourself feeling sluggish after sitting all day, that elevator could look mighty appealing. Try to avoid the temptation to stay still, and look for ways throughout the day to get moving. Use a bathroom on a different floor or park in the last row of the lot. Prioritize tasks which require movement (making copies, running messages, etc.) and whenever possible, get up and talk to your colleagues in person, rather than simply sending them an email.
3: Ask About Chair Alternatives
Chairs can do a number on your hips, tailbone, spine and even your shoulders. Posture is extremely important, and if you’re stuffed into an uncomfortable chair all day, you can begin to feel achy. Most office managers are aware of this problem, and are starting to be more accommodating in terms of desk and seating options.
Balance balls can make excellent replacements for chairs because they require you to constantly make small adjustments to your posture in order to remain balanced. Your body will be much more engaged and this can improve both your core strength and your posture.
Standing desks are also popular for a similar reason, and if you’re really lucky, you may even be given a walking or pedaling desk that incorporates either a treadmill or a bike into your desk setup.
4: Cubicle Yoga and Calisthenics
Even if you’re stuck in a cubicle all day, you can usually find a way to get a little bit of stretching or calisthenics in. Push-ups and crunches don’t take up too much room, nor does stretching. Don’t worry about looking “silly” while working out near your desk – chances are, your coworkers will take up the practice too. After all, they’re feeling just as lousy as you are.
Remind yourself to move as often as you can. You can use step counters or phone apps to help prod you into action. Just getting up and moving a few times a day can counteract all the sitting you’re doing at work. Making your evenings or weekends active can help even more!