Spending a large part of the day sitting in front of the computer is a given for most jobs. It often carries over into evenings and weekends, where so many activities for work and for leisure involve more screens and more sitting. However all that sitting takes a toll in the form of back and neck pain, weight gain, low energy – to the point where research actually suggests that sitting is slowly but surely taking time off our lifespans. That’s more than a little ominous. It would be great if we could tell the boss to take a hike – and then go with her for a nice long walk – but things still need to get done. Fortunately there are simple methods to get up and move while at work.
Take a Stand
There are many standing desks available right now – your office may even install one for you for the good of your health and productivity – but they do take some getting used to. Try an adjustable one that lets you return to sitting when you wish and try the standing for short stretches at a time. Or do it yourself by stacking your computer on sturdy boxes or moving a laptop to the top of a filing cabinet or shelf. Suggest making less formal meetings standing ones, studies show they’re actually more efficient. Standing is simply healthier. We burn 40% more calories while standing than when sitting, and all that fidgeting and shifting that happens while standing keeps the metabolism up. When you’re sitting your body believes it’s resting and drops energy accordingly, staying on your feet keeps you on a more even keel.
Take the Stairs
If a standing desk isn’t for you there are other ways to move around. Stop taking the elevator to your office, or get off a floor or two before and walk up. The same goes for meetings or even just using the printer on a different floor. When getting a coffee why not go to the Starbucks a block further away instead of the one right across the street? If you have to eat at your desk make sure to get up afterwards and walk around. The extra time you’re taking for yourself will be made up for in the increased energy and focus a little exercise gives your work.
Take a Drink
Setting a timer to remind yourself to get up from your desk more often is a great idea, and the best timer you have is your own bladder. Drink a lot of water, and from a small cup so you’ll have to get up to re-fill it more often. You’ll be more hydrated and more active! When you’re heading to the water cooler or the washroom do some stretches and lunges, walk some extra laps around the desk, plank against a wall or the floor – get your blood moving and your muscles engaged. You’ll feel better for it and you may just be improving your own health.