Did you know that sitting is the new smoking? Yup, it’s true. Those who live sedentary lifestyles are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and chronic back pain. And, let’s face it, with the way the world works today so many of us work right from our computers which means we are sitting for long periods of time, sometimes for up to eight to twelve hours a day. That’s a massive amount of sitting, and over time, can significantly impact our overall health, even if you hit the gym after work. Why? Because, unfortunately, even a workout after all day sitting doesn’t make up for all those hours you didn’t move your body.
So, to support better health, decrease your risk of chronic disease, and to help support better work focus, we are dishing out all you need to know to stay fit at work even with your 9-5 desk job.
7 Ways to Stay Fit at Work Even With a Desk Job
#1 The All Mighty Exercise Ball
Sitting on an exercise ball at work may be the answer you are looking for to help you stay fit at work even when you work a desk job. Not only does sitting on an exercise ball take some pressure off your back and glutes, but by bouncing on the ball, it may help to naturally support better posture (goodbye slouched backs!) Hey, it may even help you burn a few calories at the same time!
#2 Try a Standing Desk
If you work from home, or happen to have your own office space, then getting a standing desk may be one of the best things you can do to help stay fit at work. The truth is that our bodies aren’t meant to be in one position the entire day. In fact, we are designed to be moving throughout the day, and getting a standing desk can at least help prevent you from sitting all day long. Plus a standing desk may help boost your focus and attention as your body will be more actively engaged as opposed to slouching in an office chair all day.
#3 Take Regular Stretch Breaks
Do you ever feel that kink in your neck getting tighter and tighter as the day goes on? Yup, we’ve all been there, and for some of us, chronic neck and back pain is an ongoing issue, especially those who sit at a desk from 9-5. So, when your neck starts acting up, take it as a sign to get up and stretch your body. You will feel so much better when you get back to your desk after you take a few minutes to get away from the computer and stretch those arms, legs, and neck out.
#4 Take a Walk During Lunch
One of the best ways to stay fit at work is to take a brisk walk during your lunch break. Split your break in half, half to sit and eat, and the other half to get moving. This makes for the ideal break as you can refuel your body while also getting a quick workout in. Feeling super ambitious? Bring some light weights to use during your power lunch walk. You will feel so much better when you get home knowing that you at least got your daily walk in if you aren’t able to squeeze in a workout every day. Plus, you may just spark some interest in your co-workers too! If the whole office gets out for a walk after lunch, chances are productivity and positivity will skyrocket too.
#5 Take an Extra Lap During Bathroom Breaks
All it takes is an extra 2-3 minutes each bathroom break to stretch those legs out a little. Take an extra lap around the office each chance you get. Remember that our bodies weren’t designed to sit at a desk all day, so get up and move those legs as often as time allows.
#6 Take the Stairs
So this one is only going to work if your office actually has stairs, but if it does, take advantage of this! Skip the elevator, and take the stairs every single time you can. And, if you have a spare couple of minutes, go up and down them a few times. While you may get some strange looks from co-workers, you can feel great about the fact that you are actively racking up the number of steps you are getting in throughout your workday. Plus, getting that heart pumping during breaks at work can help you feel less tense and more focused when it comes time to sit back down and get back to the grind.
#7 Have Standing Meetings
Ok, so we totally get it. Modern technology makes communication SO much easier. Between texting, emailing, and all of those virtual apps to make communicating with your work team streamlined, you basically never have to leave your desk.
But, here’s the thing-sitting at your desk all day is no good for your mind or your body. So, if you have the authority to decide how your meetings are held at work, suggest a standing meeting where everyone in the office gets to stand and stretch their legs during the team huddle. Or, even better, get up and walk to chat with your co-worker VS sending them an email. You would be surprised at how many extra steps you get in by getting up from your desk and doing this regularly. And, bonus points if you wear a step tracker as it will motivate you even more to get your booty up and moving throughout the day.
The Bottom Line
Don’t let your 9-5 be the reason you don’t get your body moving throughout the day. With all day sitting being linked to chronic disease, it’s important to move the body even if we get than power workout in after work. Because here’s the thing, a half hour or even an hour of exercise doesn’t counteract the negative effects sitting all day has on our body. We need to be actively moving. So, try implementing a few of these tips to stay fit at work (yes, even if you work a desk job.) Just a subtle change in how you move throughout the day can lead to long-lasting health benefits.