YOUR DESK JOB DOESN’T HAVE TO AFFECT YOUR HEALTH
Numerous studies have been released over the past few years that show that sitting at a desk all day is bad for you. Our 100 year cultural transition from active (farming and industry) to sedentary has some worrying implications for our health. Even if you exercise regularly, working at a desk job and spending evenings on the couch means that you’re only active about 5% of the day. Not what the human body was designed to do! But there are ways to combat our sedentary lifestyle.
Get Up and Move!
Study after study has proven the effectiveness of activity breaks in the midst of sedentary activity. Whether you’re studying for class or working to get your office’s budget squared away, remember to take regular breaks. Every hour, get out of your chair for 5 minutes and wander around. You can pace the hallways, walk around the block, or walk down a few flights of stairs and back up – just pick an activity that will get you moving and out of your chair for a few minutes each hour.
Just Stand There
As the health ramifications of sitting all day have become more widely known, standing desks have gained in popularity. They are what they sound like – desks at different heights to allow users to stand while writing, reading, and typing on a computer. Standing not only burns up 40% more calories than sitting, but it is better for your metabolic function. The key is to 1) be sure that the desk is the right height for you – no stooping or stretching! 2) That you stand on a well-cushioned mat to avoid damage to your bones, and 3) that you wear comfortable shoes. Ladies, leave the heels off if you’ll be standing all day.
Walk The Day Away
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get exercise while you work without getting all sweaty and out of breath? Treadmill desks let you do just that – they allow the user to walk at a very slow pace (like a mile or two per hour) while working. Just think – you’ll definitely reach those 10,000 steps, you’ll get your work done, and you’ll help your body combat the health problems that come with a sedentary lifestyle.
Work Other Muscles While You Sit
Some scientists believe that even brief muscular contractions can short-circuit unhealthy molecular signals, so long as those contractions occur frequently. If you’re worried about trying to stand or walk all day, and literally can’t leave your desk that often (say if you need to be near your phone constantly) try out a yoga balance ball. They engage the core, work your abdominal and back muscles, and help improve balance. Plus, think of your improved posture!
Did I miss anything? If you have a favorite trick for getting up and about throughout the day, share it in the comments. In the meantime, try some of these out, and stay healthy!
Image Credit: Evan Bench