If you have a job that requires you to be seated for long periods of time, you need to take steps to reduce your sedentary habits. Our bodies are made to move, so sitting for long periods of time can be bad news for your health.
Health Risks from Sitting
It is well documented that being sedentary for long periods of the day comes with consequences, such as increased risks for:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cancer (especially of the colon or breast)
- Premature death
Even if you are actively working, there is a chance your lower body is relatively static, resulting in decreased circulation and more general aches and pains throughout the day. While most of us can’t control having to be at our desks throughout the day, there are things you can do to be an “active sitter.”
6 Strategies to Sit Less Often
- Take breaks often. Take micro-breaks to stand, stretch and walk around to get your blood pumping and circulating. Set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind yourself to stop working and stretch.
- Try a standing desk. If you can, invest in a standing desk or find tasks where you can stand, such as talking on the telephone or reading reports. Put your file cabinet on the other side of the room so that you have to walk over to it. If you do have a standing desk, alternate between sitting and standing every hour. Movement is your best defense for a desk job!
- Walk and meet. Find reasons to go for a walk or do walking meetings. Instead of sending an email, walk to your colleague’s office down the hall.
- Squeeze in exercise. Incorporating some time before or after your workday to workout at home or go to the gym will help offset the sitting you may do throughout the day.
- Commute actively. Instead of taking the car to work, turn your commute into a workout by biking to work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator if and when possible.
- Step away from your desk at lunchtime. Leave your cube or home office. Climb some stairs. Take a 10-minute walk around the block.
While it may be hard to break away from your desk, these are just a few of the things you can do to help increase your activity level and continue to be productive at work. If you aren’t able to get up frequently, remember to ensure that your desk is set up ergonomically to help prevent aches, pains or loss in productivity.