Many of us have jobs that keep us tied, maybe not literally, to a desk and chair. We sit from the start of the shift until the end, maybe taking a lunch and bathroom break, every day. When we finally stretch our muscles at the end of the day we feel the pain, the soreness, and the cramping. Our bodies do not like sitting for extended periods of time. Our bodies like to move. Current research shows that people who sit on their bums for many hours each day are at a higher risk for heart disease, early death, diabetes, muscle stiffness, poor balance, pain throughout the body, and so much more.
What researchers know is that people should move all day long, as much as possible. Having a sedentary life is not what evolution has in mind for us. You can get in some movement every day and, preferably, every hour of the workday. To help you kick that sedentary lifestyle in the workplace, consider these options that are easy to do every day.
- Every hour, get up from your chair and walk around your desk, your office, or your floor. Do a couple laps to get the blood moving and the muscles working.
- Send your documents to the farthest printer possible. To a different floor? Even better, and don’t forget to take the stairs. If you are unsure how to access a different printer, ask your IT folks.
- Park your car a good distance from the entrance door to your office building. You can get in a brisk walk at the very beginning of the day and the very end. If possible, bike or walk to work or take public transportation.
- Walk over to a colleague’s workstation instead of sending an email or an instant message. You’ll have an opportunity to stand up, move, and chat with a colleague, but don’t dilly-dally; you still need to be productive at work.
- Take your lunch break so your mind has a chance to decompress, but don’t take it at your desk. Get up from your chair, walk somewhere (far) to have your lunch, and enjoy your food. If you have time leftover during your lunch break, take a walk.
Once you build a habit of these, you will notice that your body feels great, your energy level is up, your health has improved, and you might just enjoy going to work. I challenge you to try this for one week, 5 workdays. Report back to let me know how it has changed your work life.