Remember the days when emailing didn’t exist and you actually had to get up from your desk, walk two metres to your colleague’s desk, and *shock, horror* physically hand the Monthly Sales Report to your boss? These days, our work environments have become so efficient due to the ever-growing world of technology, that we could basically go through an entire nine-to-five day only using our fingers. According to researchers, if people spend the majority of their day sitting, even with regular bouts of exercise, they are still at a heightened risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Here are ten great tips to keep you mobile in the office.
1. Sit and stand
Have you ever heard of the phrase “sitting is the new smoking”? Statistics show that an office worker spends approximately 6 hours a day sitting at their desk, an activity (or non-activity) linked to the development of a range of chronic health conditions. According to research conducted by Endocrinologist James Levine at the Mayo Clinic, the key to reducing the risk of obesity and chronic diseases is consistent, moderate levels of movement periodically throughout the day. Experts recommend a combination of sitting and standing at your desk, as this promotes movement without putting too much strain on the body.
2. Tasking Variety is the spice of life!
Organising how your tasks are scheduled can be a great way to keep active while you work. If possible, mix desk-based tasks with meetings and other non desk-based tasks to keep you moving around the office.
Don’t worry, we are not asking you to hold a Formidable Face Pose (one of the hardest Yoga poses known to mankind) in the middle of your 9am meeting with the CEO. Simply standing up to stretch or stretching whilst sitting can mobilise joints and increase blood flow. This can make you feel more alert, whilst keeping your muscles relaxed at the same time. Any physical therapist will be a big advocate of stretching. Make it part of your daily routine, just like brushing teeth, and you will remain active, pain free and able to continue any past time to your hearts content. It may get the office talking but they’ll all be joining in before yu know and thanking you for it too.
4. Use the stairs
Using the stairs rather than taking a lift or escalator is a great way to stay mobile and increase your fitness levels. Walking up the stairs engages a large number of muscles, including the hip flexors, the gluteus medius and maximus, as well as the quadriceps and hamstrings. It is a basic form of conditioning for many athletes. In simple terms ladies and gents – walking up the stairs will give you great legs and a great behind.
5. Make use of your lunch break
It is very easy to fall in to the pattern of eating lunch at your desk, especially when deadlines are looming or you are addicted to MailOnline. We don’t always get the time to break, however if you can steal even just 30 minutes from your desk, try taking a fitness class at a gym close by, or if you want to keep it simple, go for a walk around the block. It is well documented how exercise improves concentration so for a more productive afternoon, exercise. Remember, no exercise is wasted!
6. Excuse me while I take this call
We are all guilty of sitting at our desk responding to emails whilst simultaneously taking a bite from the sandwich we haven’t had time to eat with the phone wedged between our neck and shoulder trying to co-ordinate who will pick the kids up from school that afternoon. Talk about multi-tasking! Avoid the trap of getting stuck at your desk by making some of your calls out of the office. Pop on your earphones and get moving. This will allow you to stretch your legs, whilst also taking a breather from the chaos.
7. Uncross your legs
Sharon Stone may not agree, however sitting with crossed legs places tension through your pelvis, hips and spine, which can contribute to back and neck pain. If you are uncomfortable in your seat, get up from your desk and take a walk around the office or perhaps swap chairs with a colleague to allow for a different sitting position. Desk posture accounts for a greet deal of pain treated by osteopaths. Get a colleague to take a photo of you at your desk and ask a physical therapist for tips. It may just save you years of pain.
– Heavy Load Do you really need to load up your bag to the point that it is busting at the seams? Carrying a heavy bag, especially a shoulder bag that promotes an uneven balance of weight on one side of your body can lead to serious back problems. Give your back a break and spread the love – carry a bag in each arm with your items evenly spread throughout both. This will help prevent back pain and other injuries, whilst also keeping you mobile. Another option is to carry a bag with a body strap which you can swing across your body.
9. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water = Hydration = More Energy to stay active. It’s not rocket science, but it definitely is science, people. Dehydration can lead to impaired physical performance and difficulty concentrating. Aim to drink 2-3 litres of water a day, your body and your mind will thank you for it.
10. Keep active outside of work
Regular exercise is not only important for your physical health, it is also important for your mental health, as the body’s natural anti-depressant – endorphins – are released. Not only will regular exercise make you happy, it will also keep you mobile and fit to perform every day tasks, such as walking (or in a lot of cases running) to catch the bus to work, or lugging the weekly groceries home from the grocery store. So, as archaic as it may sound to get up from your desk and inform your colleague that your new colleague brought homemade muffins in for the staff morning tea, instead of sending such pressing matters through a group email – step away from the keyboard, use those things attached to your torso called “legs”, and opt for the active option.
This article first appeared in nowcure.me, the one stop shop to find tips & tricks to a happier and healthier you!
Reynu joined WomenNow from the beginning on. She loves writing and combines this with her love for India, the country her parents emigrated from to the United States looking for a better life and opportunities. Studying litterature and journalism helped laid the foundation for her writing skills. She is into badminton and an avid runner. Her dream is to live between New York and Mumbai.