30 minutes exercise a day, 5 days a week. That’s a great start to a healthier and fitter lifestyle. But with more of us working at a desk, how can you be more active whilst sitting?
Why stay active at work?
You may already be aware that a sedentary lifestyle can have an adverse effect on your health and wellbeing. It can be tricky to stay active during desk work and many of us are now sitting for over 8 hours a day. Issues caused by prolonged sitting include digestive problems, back and hip pain, poor posture and even illnesses such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Inactivity can also make us feel low, unproductive and sluggish. On the contrary when we are active, our brain sends endorphins around our body to make us feel better. A happier workforce is a more productive workforce, so being active is great all round!
Practical ways to stay active at work
1. Build exercise into your commute
Make use of your commuting time and add some exercise in. Try hopping off the bus a few stops earlier, or if your commute is within an easy distance, you could try cycling or even running to work a few days a week. If you are now more of a hybrid worker, it may be easier to incorporate exercise into your routine and be more flexible about what time of day you exercise. If you work from home, why not try a walk around the block before work as your daily 'commute'?
2. Add movement into workday
You can still be active whilst at your desk. Here are a few ways to keep active:
Use a Sit-Stand desk – great for alternating between sitting and standing, these desks are easy and quick to adjust and perfect for casual tasks such as filing, responding to emails or taking phone calls.
Try alternative seating – Alternate your seating and try a stool or ball. Designed to wobble, this type of seating helps to activate your core and increase your heart rate and are ideal for use with a sit-stand desk.
Add stretch breaks – if you’re the type of person who becomes engrossed in a task, why try setting a reminder to stand up and stretch every hour. Stretching helps your muscles stay flexible and strong avoiding tightness which can lead to weakness, aches and pains.
Request walking or standing meetings – the next time you need to schedule a casual meeting then why not try it standing up or even walking in the fresh air? This gives your body a chance to switch from sitting to standing and may even have a positive effect on the outcomes.
Desk yoga – If you are unable to leave your desk, try stretching whilst seated. Desk yoga allows you to stretch your arms, back and legs without having to stand up.
3. Track your steps
If you wear a fitness tracker, it may a surprise just you how many steps you get in just walking around the workplace. Taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking over to see colleagues rather than telephoning, making a cuppa and going for a walk in your lunchbreak will easily help you achieve your daily steps goal.
4. Try exercising on your lunchbreak
If you usually take an hour for lunch, why not use 30 minutes of that time for exercise? A quick jog, brisk walk, yoga or even a trip to the gym can be achievable in your lunch hour and could give you a much-needed energy boost in the afternoon. It also frees up time after work to enjoy hobbies or time with the family.
5. Set a challenge
Why not encourage movement at work and have a competition to see just how active everyone can become? You could set goals for the most active and give awards to the winners to spark up some activity and create a challenge to focus on.
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