If you have an office job that involves sitting behind a computer for several hours each day, you’re probably already somewhat familiar with the accompanying lifestyle dangers. The sitting and snacking can cause you to gain weight. Sitting in that chair for hours can hurt your back, neck, and other body parts.
Being too sedentary is dangerous, and you’ll need to get creative to avoid the potentially harmful side effects. Here are ideas for how you can do so.
Get Up and Move Around Every Hour
Experts conclude that fewer than 5% of adults get over 30 minutes of physical activity per day. That’s worrying, especially when you consider that:
- There is a national obesity epidemic
- Few jobs involve being on your feet and moving around much during the day
- Automation means even less physical activity for human workers in the future
One way to combat all this is to get up and move around at least once every hour. Prioritize it, even when you’re working on something important.
If you don’t think that you can remember to get up and be active, set an alarm. You can program one on your smartphone or your wearable device, like a Fitbit or Apple Watch.
Walk Around on Your Lunch Hour
Apart from moving around every hour, you can also make a point of walking during your lunch hour. You might:
- Walk around the block a few times
- Walk around a nearby public park
You can walk before you eat lunch, or after. How much you can walk, and where you can do so, is going to depend on what’s close by your work.
If your office is in a metropolitan area, you can walk around, explore, and stretch your legs. You might even find some interesting stores or landmarks that you had never noticed before.
Just be sure only to walk around if you’re in a safe area. You’re trying to get some exercise, but it’s not worth it if your only option is walking around a high crime neighborhood.
Go for a Bike Ride at Lunch Time
You might also be able to go for a bike ride at lunchtime. If you have a bike from your teen years, or you bought one as an adult, then you can ride your bike to work if that’s an option for you. You can tie it up somewhere convenient, or some offices have bike rooms now.
When lunchtime comes, after you eat, you can hop on your bike and go for a brisk ride before you’re due to go back to work. It’s exhilarating to get out there when the weather is nice. It will energize and focus you again by the time you get back to work.
Stand When You Talk
Part of avoiding being too sedentary is getting up and moving around periodically, and you can do that whenever you talk to someone. Let’s say that someone comes by your desk, or you get a phone call. In either situation, you can get up and stand while talking.
It might look a little bit strange, but you can explain to your coworkers what you’re trying to do. Tell them that the world’s fourth-leading mortality risk factor is immobility. They will probably be eager to take up this practice as well once they hear that.
Take Some Time to Stretch During the Day
Getting up and moving around is excellent, but if you don’t get in a good muscle stretch, expect tightness in your back, calves, and other body parts as the day goes on. See if there is a facility somewhere at your job that’s suitable for stretching. Many offices these days understand sedentary lifestyle dangers, so they have areas for this sort of thing.
If your work doesn’t have a suitable place to stretch, ask about setting one up. All you need is a small room where you can set up some yoga mats.
If you’re a company leader, you can even have times during the day when you can lead your team in some light stretching. You can learn techniques in yoga classes or by watching YouTube videos. A good stretch for those tense muscles during the day is just what you need.
Set Up an Ergonomic Work Station
It also helps to have an ergonomic work station. Ergonomics studies people in their work environment. These days, though, when you hear the term, it usually means trying to envision a desk, chair, etc. that will be as comfortable for you as possible.
Gone are the days of hard, unwieldy office chairs. If you visit a Silicon Valley tech company, you will likely see things like beanbag chairs at work stations.
Whether that sort of thing is going to be possible at your job depends on the atmosphere that your bosses want to have in place. They might be okay with a more casual setup, or they may insist on a more rigid environment.
It doesn’t hurt to ask about these things, though. Try to implement changes if you can. This is about your long-term health and that of your coworkers.
Those who sit for many hours each day open themselves up to a long health problem list. That includes a high chance of developing diabetes. Heart disease and cancer risks are also higher.
Even if you have a boss who is slow to change in the face of these findings, you have to keep at it until you get the office modifications you need. That might involve getting a petition going.
You’re going to need to be persistent, but it’s not as though you’re asking for wholesale office changes. Most of what you need for a healthier day is relatively minor and involved a minimum expense outlay.
Healthy workers are happy ones, and small changes to your daily habits and work environment mean a longer and better-quality life. Do all that you can to be active during your days.