Combat your sedentary work habits

Keeping Desk Fit
 

Sitting at your desk all day can wreak havoc on your body. Did you know that good cholesterol levels actually decrease 20 percent and your risk of diabetes increases after only a couple hours of sitting? A new study of how Americans work shows that as we have made the move to desk jobs we have become less active, leading to obesity and other health issues. The study found that 80% of jobs are classified as sedentary, compared to 50% in 1960. At the heart of the issue is a drop in calorie burn of 120 to 140 calories. Combined with an abundance of snacks and larger portion sizes, this drop has added up to a big problem. Expanding waistlines, metabolic health issues and increased loads on our joints are some of the major problems. Being tied to a desk, rather than being on your feet all day is definitely a health issue, but adding activity to your workday isn’t hard to do with items you already have at hand. Even better, if you institute a few of these changes it is relatively easy to burn the additional 140 calories through the course of a workday. 

Keeping Desk Fit
 
Sitting at your desk all day can wreak havoc on your body. Did you know that good cholesterol levels actually decrease 20 percent and your risk of diabetes increases after only a couple hours of sitting? A new study of how Americans work shows that as we have made the move to desk jobs we have become less active, leading to obesity and other health issues. The study found that 80% of jobs are classified as sedentary, compared to 50% in 1960. At the heart of the issue is a drop in calorie burn of 120 to 140 calories. Combined with an abundance of snacks and larger portion sizes, this drop has added up to a big problem. Expanding waistlines, metabolic health issues and increased loads on our joints are some of the major problems. Being tied to a desk, rather than being on your feet all day is definitely a health issue, but adding activity to your workday isn’t hard to do with items you already have at hand. Even better, if you institute a few of these changes it is relatively easy to burn the additional 140 calories through the course of a workday.
 
Have a think about some of these simple solutions and see what you can implement. Remember that some are better than none. There are some handy exercises at the bottom.

Standing Desk – We have long been fans of the standing desk. By standing while you work, you can burn an average of 200 to 400 calories depending on your weight. Even if you stand for half the day you will burn those extra calories and enjoy other benefits from the ergonomic setup.
 
Arrange your Office for Movement – Rather than clump everything in your office into a single area, within an arm’s reach, spread it out. This will encourage movement throughout the day that will add up and also help create a more open office layout so you have room for our other suggestions.
 
Wear Comfortable Clothes and Shoes – Numerous studies have shown that when you wear comfortable clothes and shoes to work you move more. Without a stuffy suit or uncomfortable shoes it is easier to be more active. Don’t believe empirical evidence, try it out yourself and you’ll see the benefits immediately.
 
Take Breaks to Move – Set aside specific time to move. Set an alarm on your phone or use an app like Nag for Mac to tell you to stop working and start moving. Take a walk around the building or up and down the stairs — something, anything to get you moving.
 
Walk, Don’t Call or Email – Rather than call or email your co-workers, walk and see them face to face. In addition to making you move more it can help avoid miscommunications via email.
 
Stretch – In addition to getting up and walking more, take time to do stretches or exercises in your new open office layout. You can see a program of what to do here. It will help break up your static sitting postures and keep muscles and joints mobile and less likely to become painful.
 
Bike or Walk to Work – Not everyone lives close enough to bike or walk all the way to work and if you work at home the walk is barely enough to register. However  you can find ways to make yourself walk part way to work. The easiest way is to find the furthest parking lot or parking spot and walk from there. This could be on site or at a nearby business. Other useful ways include getting off the bus or train one or two stops early and walking the rest of the way.
 
Track Your Movement – If you can see an improvement in the number of steps taken and calories burned it is easier to keep motivated. If you have a smartphone, download runkeeper and use it when you take short walks to see how they add up. If you want to go further, try a fitbit or Garmin Vivo which tracks your steps, calories burned and shows you how active you are. Use tech tools to help keep you motivated and on track.
 
Check Your Email and Tweets on Your Phone – Reading, responding to and triaging email and social networks can take up to 30% of your time spent online. Since you most likely have an email capable smartphone or tablet, try to use that device while standing to answer your emails. This will burn a few more calories and help you keep it short and sweet. If you have access to a track, walk while you check your email to burn even more calories. Just don’t do it on the footpath unless you like wandering into traffic!
 

Making These Actions into Habits-We know it’s not easy to change your routine and not everyone can implement all of these activities, but with a little help you should be able to take up 2 or 3 of these activities. The small things add up so give it a go! Long term it will help burn more calories, reduce your risk of chronic health problems and reduce your risk of postural related pain from sitting. 

Download some handy exercises here