5 Ways to Upgrade Your Desk Job For Your Health

You’ve probably heard the latest headlines claiming “sitting is the new smoking,” and wondered what it’s all about? A study from the Annals of Internal Medicine made headlines recently revealing frightening associations between prolonged sitting and early death.

Researchers followed the sitting behaviors and mortality rates of participants over 4 years and found that people who spend 12 hours a day sitting, especially those who remain seated for 6- to 90 minutes at a time, actually have an increased risk of dying earlier than their non-sitting counterparts . . . even if they exercise. Yikes!

So what are you supposed to do if your job requires you at a desk all day?

Get a Standing Desk

Standing desks are on the rise when it comes to popular workplace trends, providing an ergonomic alternative to sitting. Surprisingly dating back hundreds of years, standing desks have been used in many professions from architecture to art, however, it’s the growth in technology jobs tha has brought standing desks to forefront of office furniture in the past several decades.

CyberStates.org shares that over 7 million people in the US are employed in some type of tech occupation, and many of these more modern positions are spent sitting down at a computer. Standing desks offer a moveable solution allowing workers to either sit or raise the desk up to elbow height to work standing up. While not guaranteed to burn a ton more calories than sitting, standing desks support better posture, and some people have even modified treadmills with desk platforms for working while they walk or run.

Take Meetings on the Go

Moving from the chair at your desk to a chair in a conference room seems even less appealing knowing how detrimental sitting can be for your health. A 2016 report found that while sitting and standing burned a similar amount of calories, it was walking while working that burned 3 times calories more than sitting. What if you took your weekly team meeting out of the conference room to do laps around the building?

Not only would you be avoiding sitting, but your team would be burning calories and fueling an energetic environment with which to facilitate better communication and collaboration. You may not want to take an audio call on the go for fear of labored breathing on the line, but if it is a conference call you may largely be muted on, think about popping outside to get moving while you listen in.

Drinks Lots of Water

Need a reason to get up from your desk multiple times during the work day? Try drinking more water! While staying hydrated is a beneficial health practice all on its own as adequate amounts of water support the body in flushing out toxins and carrying out basic functions, it can also be a good reason to hop up from your desk each hour to hit the restroom. Chugging coffee will have the same effect, but remember, the caffeine in coffee can actually serve as a diuretic and dehydrate you more than it hydrates you.

Consider bringing a reusable water bottle to work which will require regular refilling to get your water habit going. Regular water consumption is also a good way to help yourself feel full and avoid those stress-driven vending machines cravings that often sneak up on you at work. One study has even shown that drinking water before a meal when dieting can help you lose weight faster than just dieting.

Walk to Lunch

Does your team often order in lunch and have it delivered to the building? Take the opportunity during your lunch to leave the office and walk somewhere to eat. It might be trekking to the local food truck court to buy lunch, or simply taking your homemade bag lunch to an outdoor location ten minutes away to eat outside and get a little exercise.

Inclement weather preventing an outdoor lunch adventure? You can at least turn your sitting time into exercise with a pedal exerciser that sits under your desk. These nifty and portable exercise devices can help strengthen feet and leg muscles, fight bone loss, and promote good posture habits.

Offer to Get Up

Someone need a report grabbed from the printer on the 3rd floor? Does the office need restocking on La Croix and coconut chips? Offer to do the small errands that get you up and out to avoid sitting in your chair all day.

Being helpful in this way won’t only benefit your health, but can reflect well on you as a productive team player. Make small tasks like this part of your daily routine, like offering to check the mail or walking to pick up lunch. The light will shine well on you, and you’ll always have a reason to get up from your chair and move. Turns out, your life depends on it!

 

Image courtesy of [pakorn] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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