Sitting at a desk for eight plus hours every day can wreak havoc on your health and your waistline – even if you work out on a regular basis.
Studies show that making just small changes to increase your physical activity during your workday can have a significant impact on your overall health. Here are tips to get you started:
Take More Steps
Increase the amount of time you spend on your feet every day. Choose the space in the back of the parking lot. Skip the elevator, take the stairs. Don't call a co-worker – walk to her desk instead. Take a 10-minute break (or 15 minutes out of your lunch break) for a brisk walk around the building or up and down the halls. Add lunges or other exercises that can be done easily at work.
Stretch and Breathe
Set hourly reminders on your calendar to do a few stretches or yoga poses (to learn how, see these videos from the Mayo Clinic) and take some big, deep breaths. That will get your oxygen flowing and relieve stress.
Take a Break from Your Chair
Try to alternate between sitting and standing (an adjustable-height desktop or counter will help). Sitting on an inflatable fitness ball for short periods of time will improve your balance and give you a good core workout. (To avoid back strain, however, be careful not to do this for prolonged periods of time.)
Make it a Team Effort
Keep green tea and lemon in the break room as an alternative to the soda machine. Form a lunch-time walking club. Replace your traditional potluck parties with heart-healthy lunches and recipe contests. Play "The Biggest Loser" and award prizes to teams who lose the most pounds.
With a little creativity and teamwork – and small changes in your everyday routine – you and your co-workers can all become a lot healthier together.