There are considerable benefits to staying active throughout the day, including better heart health, weight management and stress relief. It’s also been proven that the simple act of moving makes you better at your job by improving concentration, creativity and productivity.
Modern work life makes it hard to stay active during the day. Many of us sit all day staring at a screen. Unfortunately, our bodies are not designed to be sedentary.
So, the next time you are tempted to hunker down at your desk and push through a long day, consider some of these ideas for boosting your physical body and job performance.
Standing desks have become quite popular in recent years. They’re great because they allow you to change positions and take the stress off your lower back. A Treadmill desk is another option. Your office setup may not have room for one, as they are quite large, but they can be a great multipurpose device. Some companies cover the cost of these desks, so check with HR to see what’s possible.
If a new desk is not in the cards, think about ways you can stay mobile while seated. Trading in your chair for an exercise ball is an easy and cost-effective way to move your core while also preventing low back issues. Companies now make upgraded exercise ball chairs that level up the stability and back support of a traditional ball. These are pricier but may be more comfortable for long-term use. The Deskcycle is another device that claims you can burn more calories with it than using a standing desk. It fits conveniently under your desk for easy and quiet exercise. If you like cycling, this one’s for you!
Experts suggest that moving every 30 minutes is essential. Try setting an alarm so you remember to stand up, stretch, file something, refill your drink or walk around your floor. Just three minutes is all it takes to counter the effects of sitting.
Email and chat tools are convenient, but they remove the need to move. Instead of opening an application, go talk to a coworker in person. They may be a cubicle away or on another floor—it doesn’t really matter. Use it as an excuse to get moving.
If you work from home, there are no coworkers to visit (unless you count your pets). Instead, try walking as you talk on the phone. In the days of videoconferencing, we don’t talk on the phone as often, but try to make it a habit when you do. You don’t have to go far—simply pacing back and forth in your office will do. If space is tight, do some arm curls or leg lifts. The point is to get moving in some small way that doesn’t make you breathless while talking.
Walking to lunch offers multiple benefits. You get a little exercise while also getting vitamin D from the sun. Going out can also help clear your head so you can attack problems in a new way when you return. Take along a coworker (or your dog) for some networking or social time.
The simple act of taking the stairs instead of the elevator has huge benefits. If you are on the 12th floor, you may not want to take the stairs all the way up, but try a floor or two to get your blood pumping and legs working. It might not seem like much, but over time, every small action adds up to better health.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you stay active while you work. They are simple, quick and pack enormous benefits. You can probably think of other ideas—things you already do but could be more consistent with throughout the day. You won’t retrain yourself overnight, so give yourself some grace as you implement these. Start with one idea today. As it becomes your routine, add another one.