Sitting down all day is unavoidable for a lot of workers in the United States. Qz.com reports that dispatchers, accountants, treasurers, and other workers with similar duties spend up to 90% of their workday sitting. Even if sitting down all day sounds nice, it can negatively affect your health in the long run.
According to Footwear 4 Workers, sitting at work can lead to side effects like obesity heart disease, muscle degeneration, and postural issues.
Unfortunately, finding a new job that allows for standing isn’t always realistic. Thankfully, there are some tips you can implement to minimize the onset of these negative side effects. Here are 7 easy ways to stay active at work even if you have a 9 to 5 desk job.
1. Set a timer for regular breaks
When it comes to being more active at work, and of course, depending on the nature of your job, try to take a break every 30 minutes. If that is unrealistic, try to aim for every hour. When you take these regular breaks, get up and move around for a couple of minutes. Doing so will activate your muscles and promote blood flow.
If you tend to become so invested in your work, set a timer so you don’t forget to take your breaks. Stick to your scheduled breaks even if you are really busy. Your productivity won’t be compromised because of a few minutes of walking around.
2. Go out for lunch
Another great way to be more active at work is by avoiding having your food delivered to your office. Instead, go to a restaurant around the block. This way, you will have the walk there and the walk back to loosen up your legs.
If you like to bring your own lunch, take a walk outside and eat your bagged lunch in a new location. Don’t confine yourself to the office during your free lunch hour.
3. Park far away and take the stairs
Don’t try to fight for a front row parking spot at the beginning of the day. Instead, park far away. This will give your body a chance to loosen up after a long commute. And, you’ll prepare it for the hours of sitting to come.
Once you arrive at your office building, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Taking the stairs is a good way to boost your energy levels and increase your heart rate.
Though it can be tempting to use the elevator throughout the day, always opt for the stairs. Whether you’re running an errand for your boss, going to lunch, or heading home, take the stairs to balance out all the sitting you do.
Once you’re done for the day, walking back to your far-away parking spot is another way to combat the hours of sitting you’ve done for the day.
Though all of this walking may seem minute, it adds up, especially when you make these conscious decisions every day for prolonged periods of time.
4. Volunteer to walk the company dog
If your office is pet-friendly, chances are that there are several dogs who need to go outside every couple of hours.
The owners may be preoccupied with other tasks, so ask if you can take their pets outside every once in a while. Someone has to do this task anyways, so you should take advantage of the opportunity to get some exercise.
5. Run errands outside of the building
Similar to the dog walking tip, you should volunteer to run your boss’s errands whenever possible. Even if they are menial, unimportant tasks like fetching coffee, they will get you out of your chair.
6. Alter your commute
If you don’t work far away, you can cut driving time out of your daily schedule. Try biking or walking to work so you can avoid sitting in the car. Or, you can take a bus and stand for the commute, which has some benefits over sitting.
7. Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair
While you may get some funny looks, you will be promoting your health by sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair. When you sit on an exercise ball, you are forced to sit up straight, which is excellent for toning your stomach muscles.
You will not achieve these benefits by sitting in a regular chair. Bear in mind that you shouldn’t sit on an exercise ball all day, but doing so in short spurts will help you burn some extra calories and strengthen your core.
Bonus Tip: Try Out a New Desk
If your office has the budget and space for it, request a new desk:
Standing desk: With a standing desk, your monitor sits up higher so you can stand and work.
Treadmill desk: A treadmill desk takes the standing desk one step further. It lets you walk in a place and work at the same time.
Even if you can’t get one of these fancy desks, the previous tips should help you stay active even if you have a job that demands a lot of sitting.