Almost 70% of full-time American workers hate sitting, but do it all day, every day. It's time to change that. If you have a sedentary job then you should set an alarm to remind yourself to walk around the office, or even just to stand up for a few seconds. Let's take a quick look at a few reasons why this is so important.
Our bodies are built to move and be in regular action
Sedentary lifestyles are extremely common, but it’s taking its toll on health and productivity. It’s time to get active at your desk as too much sitting can cause the following health ailments:
- As your blood flows slower and your muscles are burning less fat, there’s a higher risk of fatty acids clogging your heart.
- The pancreas produces more insulin when sedentary, which could lead to diabetes. The efficiency of your body when dealing with sugar is affected by how physically active you are.
- It’s believed that those who are sedentary are more at risk of various cancers, as the antioxidants in your body aren’t getting a boost from movement. These antioxidants are known to target potentially cancer-causing free radicals.
- Digestion problems
- Back and hip problems
- Poor posture.
- Leg issues, such as weak bones and varicose veins.
- A rise in stress levels
- Decreases in productivity and energy
Mental benefits of staying active
So what happens when you start to get more activity and move away from the desk at regular intervals? Not only will your body improve, but your mindset and energy will be affected too. Productivity is known to rise dramatically when employees are able to get physical activity into their working day.
So what do you do to stay active throughout the day? Here are a few easy suggestions.
Volunteer for the coffee run
Go out and get your coffee, tea or smoothie instead of letting someone else pick one up for you. Even better, you could make it a challenge to try a new place each day for a week, instead of always going for the closest option. Taking a stroll with some colleagues is a quick and easy way to relax, socialize and get in some more physical activity.
Have standing or walking meetings
We all have those meetings that stretch on for an hour, but could really be accomplished in 15 minutes. Try organizing a standing meeting – research shows this can be a good way to increase efficiency, making sure things don’t drag on unnecessarily, as well as getting you out of your chair.
For smaller groups or one-on-one's, a walking meeting can be a great way to get things done while getting in a little physical activity. The change of pace and scenery can also help reduce tensions and encourage more creativity and free-flowing conversation.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
Studies have shown that when you wear comfortable clothes and shoes to work you are more likely to be more active. It makes perfect sense – taking the stairs looks a lot less appealing when you’re in towering high heels or a stiff suit.
Even if your work dress code requires you to wear more formal clothes, chances are there are ways you can make your clothing more comfortable – whether it’s investing in a great pair of flats, choosing a chunkier heel that’s easier to walk in, or finding a suit made from a more breathable and movable fabric.
Don't forget to take a stand!
Office workers should stand up for at least 2 hours during their workday, with that target eventually reaching 4 hours, to break up prolonged sitting. There are great examples above for ways to increase your stand-time throughout the day but may not be applicable every day or to everybody so don't forget the simplest method - just set a reminder for every 15 or 30 minutes and stand up.