Eight Easy Ways to Move More During Your Workday
Most of us spend roughly half our waking hours sitting, whether it’s in front of the television, at our desks, while eating or during our daily commutes. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown sitting for long periods of time can lead to health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and even forms of cancer.
Our bodies are built to be in perpetual motion. Exercising for 30 minutes a day isn’t enough movement to “even out” the amount of time typically spent sitting. Instead, we need to be active several times throughout the day to break up long sitting sessions.
When sitting for just 30 minutes, your metabolism slows down as much as 70 percent. The muscles in your lower body turn off and—after two hours—good cholesterol drops 20 percent. You can also develop muscle soreness, headaches and spinal problems due to poor posture, which is typically associated with the body slumping in place as we keep it in one position for an extended period.
The best way to combat the health risks of sitting for too long is easy: just stand up and move around! Small changes in your workday that get you moving more can have a big impact on your overall health. Research suggests that activity as brief as two minutes per session can have a similar impact to your health as a 30-minute workout when performed 15 times a day (for example, 10 three-minute sessions, or six five-minute sessions).
Here are eight easy ways to get moving more during your workday:
1. Park farther away (but still a safe distance) from your office to add steps before and after work.
2. Embrace opportunities to walk around the office—fill up your water bottle, talk to coworkers face-to-face, have walking meetings, or grab print jobs individually instead of several at once.
3. Take hourly activity breaks (at least two minutes long) to do squats, desk push-ups, isometric exercises or handgrip strengthening—whatever you’re comfortable doing in a small space. Add some light stretching to help your muscles loosen up from sitting.
4. Drink more water—drinking water instead of a sugary drink lowers your calorie intake greatly and reduces hunger pangs throughout the day. It also tends to mean more trips to the restroom, which adds steps to your day.
5. Take the stairs instead of the elevator when you're going just a few flights. Stair climbing is one of the most beneficial aerobic exercises you can add to your day.
6. Consider your lunchbreak options—if you can, walk to a nearby restaurant or cafeteria instead of calling for delivery or using the drive-thru window. If you bring your lunch, pick a spot to eat it that’s a decent walk away from your desk.
7. If you can’t leave your desk, stand up—studies show we burn roughly 50 calories per hour standing. If you’re taking calls at your desk, stand up and get the blood flowing through your body.
8. Take public transit, if it’s an option—not only is it environmentally friendly, but you'll also add steps when walking to and from the stop. Plus, you can stand during the ride.
Remember, getting up for just a few minutes every hour can help you avoid various health problems and boost your energy during your workday. So get moving!
*This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant as medical advice.