Sitting Is The New Smoking: 7 Ways To Move More At Work
With the age of hyper connectivity upon us, we are working 24/7. And while that may mean great things for our careers and our bank accounts, it isn’t doing so much for our health. We’re spending more and more time sitting in heavy traffic tap tap tapping away on our smartphones, working away on our laptops and office desks, and effectively, on our butts.
Research now has been hot on what they call “the sitting epidemic,” and the results speak for themselves. Highly sedentary people have a greater risk of developing cancer (especially breast and colon cancer), heart disease, diabetes, anxiety and depression, and deep vein thrombosis. If that wasn’t enough, a sedentary lifestyle wherein one spends more time sitting could mean weight gain, muscle loss, varicose veins and spider veins, and pain and stiffness in joints. Beyond this, physical inactivity contributes to over three million (preventable) deaths worldwide—6% of all deaths—and is the fourth leading cause of death due to non-communicable diseases.
Information is key and the dilemma now lies in getting ourselves to move more. But how do we do just that, especially when we are spending more and more hours at work? We round up seven easy ways:
1. Keep moving, even when you’re at your desk.
Get up, give yourself a stretch, and march, jog or even run in place! Running or jogging in place gives you the same health benefits as you would with regular jogging, and is an effective cardiovascular exercise that warms up the body and burns calories.
2. Explore investing in standing desks, treadmill desks, and stand to sit desks, such as the UPLIFT desk or the VARIDESK.
Standing desks foster more movement during the workweek, help burn more calories, and reduce risks of shoulder and back pain. They also help with blood sugar levels right after eating, keeping your energy level up and promoting good metabolism.
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3. Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can.
Climbing stairs for 10 minutes can burn anywhere from 120-150 calories, depending on the base weight. Start with a floor or two, and once that gets easier, add another floor. Soon enough, you’ll be zooming up the stairs all the way to your office and your glutes and thighs will thank you.
4. Get rid of the jiggle even while at work!
Firm arms and shoulders by keeping a resistance band or a set of small hand weights at your desk and do quick sets of bicep curls, tricep rows, lateral raises, and overhead presses. No equipment? No problem—try a few sets of desk push-ups, chair dips, arm circles, and tricep dips.
5. Instead of using e-mail or calling them up, walk over to a colleague’s desk or office to talk and collaborate.
Humans are by nature social animals and so personal interaction is a bonus! If you’re stuck on a long conference call or just simply need a quick energizing break, try standing up and doing basic strength and balance exercises like squats, wall sits, calf raises, chair poses, or even wall push-ups.
6. Did you know there are plenty of exercises you can do using only a chair?
Try starting out with three sets of 40 cross twists, 20 chair squats, 10 leg crunches, 30 cross body crunches, 20 pistol squats, 10 chair dips, then work your way up to seven sets! Or work your abs in 10 minutes or less, like fitness trainer and supermom Alexa Jean Brown.
7. Take lunch outside and far away from your work desk.
Walk or bike to a nearby restaurant or café instead of driving or ordering take-out. This not only helps burn extra calories and helps one reach the recommended 10,000 steps a day, but also makes for a more mindful eating experience. (The art of mindful eating helps your body catch up to your brain and helps one become more aware of personal hunger signals, which in turn could actually mean less calories!)
Banner photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash. Thumb photo by rawpixel on Unsplash