Got big goals to step up your health and fitness game in 2020? Where better…
How many hours a day do you spend sitting?
Australian statistics show that 68.5% of the workforce are either sedentary or have very low levels of activity. In the same way that we balk at how socially acceptable smoking was only a few decades ago, I wonder if, in 30 years, my grandkids will ask me, “Grandma, when you were younger did you really have to sit all day at work?”
It’s not just our health that’s at stake – research indicates that employees who spend two and half hours per week exercising or moving during work hours attain the same or higher productivity than their less active colleagues. Furthermore, over time, sedentary occupations can lead to increased risk of injuries, neck and back pain, musculoskeletal disorders, overweight and obesity, chronic diseases and early mortality.
Sitting down all day for extended periods of time is detrimental to your health. It’s not all bad news though: taking regular short breaks throughout the day can deter the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Here are 10 tips to help you avoid being sedentary all day:
Plan your schedule the night before
Look at your diary – where are your meetings, is there some flexibility in your day? Could you squeeze in a quick 15-minute workout between meetings? Schedule in your activity breaks the way you would schedule in a meeting. Be organised, write it down, and make it happen.
Get up and get moving
If you usually wake up at 6am and have just enough time to get ready and get to work – then you need to start setting your alarm for 5.30am. Have your activewear at your bedside the night before so they are ready to go. Don’t let yourself overthink it and convince yourself that you can “start tomorrow” – start right now.
Choose your parking wisely
Choose to park at least 1-2km away from work. Everyday. Bring your walking shoes and stretch those hips out before and after work. The more often you do this, the easier it will feel as it becomes part of your daily routine.
Take the stairs
Use those arms and make sure you’re standing up straight. For a bigger challenge and to work on your leg strength, try taking every second stair.
To really reap the benefits of stretching, try to squeeze it in at least five times a day. Here’s an easy routine to get you started.
Get a standing desk
Ask your boss about a sit to stand desk, or if you’ve got a really good boss (like Amanda at HerCanberra), inquire about a treadmill desk! Walking meetings are also a good option to get you moving and can encourage creativity.
Sit on a swiss ball
Alternatively, use an upright chair with no armrest, which will encourage you to sit up straight and use your postural muscles.
Take every opportunity to squeeze in more steps
Walk the long way to the water cooler or toilet. Don’t forget those comfortable, supportive shoes!
Do ten squats and ten heel raises every half hour
Or, if you really can’t get up from your desk, do your calf raises and ankle circles while you’re sitting down – it’s great for circulation. Alternatively, do ten wall push-ups every hour and a ten-second wall squat.
Have an active lunch break
Signing up for a structured lunchtime class is a good way to make a commitment to yourself. Try a local boot-camp, a yoga studio, hydrotherapy class or spin class. Regularly attending a class is a great way to keep you accountable and inspired.
While many of these tips are easy to implement, there’s no need to start everything all at once. Being with a few that suit you best and increase your activity levels over time.