According to the American Heart Association (AHA), sedentary jobs have increased by 83% since 1950. Due to technological advances at home and in the workplace as well as improved transportation, today’s workforce is significantly less active than they were in the past.
The AHA also recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week, which can be hard to achieve when a majority of the day is spent at a desk, in a car, or on the couch.
If you’re one of the 83% who spend most of your day sitting down, here are some tips on how you can stay active and healthy throughout the day.
Take the stairs
If you work in an office building, take the stairs at every opportunity. Instead of hopping on an elevator or escalator to get to your floor, take a little extra time to work those legs and get that heart rate up.
If your office floor is located in the double digits, maybe think about doing a few flights of stairs before switching to the elevator. If you’re up for it, make the whole climb!
Long stretches of time at a computer can be draining. Make sure to take several breaks throughout the day to simply look away from your screen and do something else. Even just looking out the window for 30 seconds will help recharge your mind and get you ready to get back to work.
It may even help to set a timer to remind yourself to take a break.
During those breaks, it is also important to stretch and stimulate blood circulation. Stand up from your chair. Move around. Sitting puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your lumbar spine, so whenever you get a chance, make sure to move around.
The Mayo Clinic has a good selection of quick stretches that can be performed at your desk at numerous points during the day.
Go outside for lunch
Staying in the same atmosphere all day can be mentally taxing. If you’re able to, take your lunch outside. The fresh air and change in scenery will help recharge you for the second half of your day. Especially in the winter months, it can be a challenge to get the recommended levels of mood-boosting vitamin D, so every bit of sunshine helps!
If the weather is less than ideal, have your lunch somewhere other than your desk. Head to a break room or grab a healthy option nearby.
Sitting at a desk is actually a great way to drink more water throughout the day. Keep a water bottle at your desk and follow these suggestions to increase your water intake:
- Use a large container with markings for every hour or two. The goal is to drink the allotted amount of water in that time period until you’ve reached your quota for the day.
- You can also keep a smaller bottle and make sure to drink one full bottle before lunch and one after.
- Use an app that notifies you at marked intervals when it’s time to hydrate.
While these tips can help you throughout your workday, it’s important to plan active time when you’re not at work as well. Schedule workouts either before or after work or on the weekend to ensure that you’re moving enough throughout the week.
If you have a desk job, what are some of the ways that you stay active throughout the day?