6 great moves to stay active at your work desk
Sitting at a desk all day sounds like the norm. Because of technology, you literally never have to leave your chair for anything (unless, you know, you have to go to the bathroom). Want lunch? Order online. Need to hold a meeting? Use Skype. The possibilities are endless. And while the idea of hanging at your desk until 5 p.m. may sound like a dream, it’s actually pretty detrimental to your health. Aside from neck and back pain, it can increase your risk for heart disease, obesity, and even death from cardiovascular disease and cancer (yikes!). So, in an effort to be more health-conscious, here are eight small changes you can make at work to increase your activity and improve your overall health.
1. Stand instead of sit.
Just because you have a desk doesn’t mean you need to sit. As an alternative, elevate your computer with a riser so you can stand, or if that’s not an option, move to another spot in the office where there’s a taller platform for your computer.
2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Honestly, there’s no easier way to get cardio in during your work week than by taking a few flights of stairs. As you can probably guess, opting for the stairs is good for your body: It increases your heart rate, improves your energy, and can increase the function of your immune system. Before you know it, you’ll be running up five flights and beating the elevator to the top.
3. Switch up your commute.
Depending on how far you live from the office, biking or running to work can be great alternatives—and as a result, you won’t feel guilty for sitting at your desk all day. Or even better try getting off the train a stop early, walking in lieu of the bus, or simply parking farther away from the entrance. Every step counts, so switch things up!
4. Go out for lunch.
Eating and working at the same time doesn’t do wonders for your physical health. Take advantage of your hour break and walk to grab lunch instead of ordering in. You’ll move your muscles, get fresh air, and even have some time to chat with co-workers (rather than staring at your computer screen for hours on end). Sometimes it’s hard to take a break when you have a lot on your plate, but getting out of the office will refresh your body and your brain—even if it’s a 15-minute date with a park bench and your brown-bag lunch.
5. Take hourly breaks.
Sitting at your desk for hours and hours can really damage your health: Too much sitting is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and even dementia. And because sitting is the new smoking, it’s definitely a good idea to break the habit. Try getting up from your desk once an hour and moving around for about five minutes. This will activate muscles and promote blood flow. And if you’re someone who is fully consumed by your workload, set a timer for once an hour so you’re reminded to take breaks, even when you’re super busy.
6. Sit on an exercise ball ( my favourite one )
If, for whatever reason, you’re required to sit at your desk all day, switch out your chair for an exercise ball. Sitting in a chair requires no muscle activity (which does more harm than good), but using an exercise ball forces you to sit up straight, strengthen your core, and tone your muscles. Sit on the ball , when inflated properly, it offers many more benefits than a regular old chair.