After we get up in the morning, we sit at the breakfast table, sit during our commute to work, sit all day at the office, sit for lunch, sit commuting home, and sit in front of the TV, desk or kitchen table for the remainder of the evening. It’s important to find a way to stand more each and every day.
Sound familiar? I’m writing this sitting at a popular coffee spot in Chicago, sitting for almost two hours, only stood up twice. I know the dangers of sitting more than anyone and yet can’t escape them.
Have you taken an inventory of your habits? Most of us wear a digital device to help track our activity but do you pay attention to your inactivity? Take an inventory today – how long have you been at your desk? Do you take regular breaks? Get up and stretch or go for a walk? Use these tips in and around the office:
- Take frequent breaks. Ideally every 90 minutes. Take a walk around the office and get some air. Head outside if you can and take five deep breaths. Take a few minutes and meditate; relieve some stress, clear your mind. Do not use your phone or other technology; allow your brain to reset.
- Get a stand up desk. Even if you only stand part of the day, it will provide some much needed variety. Standing all day can be just as detrimental as sitting, so mix it up. Depending on your job, if you can stand all day, give it a try. It may be possible to modify your current workspace or it may be necessary to purchase a new desk. But make sure you give standing a try before committing as these purchases may be expensive. Improper ergonomics can contribute to low back pain, neck pain and headaches so bring in a professional to align your work area.
- Have your meetings walking. Remember the walk-and-talk from The West Wing? Stand up and practice that! Contribute to the health of your clients or staff by getting everyone to stand and walk! Walking while talking will help keep blood flowing. New environments may spark new ideas. If you’re fortunate enough to also hold these walking meetings outside you’ll see even greater benefits – fresh air and sunlight! Multitask while meeting: make deliveries to other departments; run errands; grab lunch while completing your meeting on the go.
As usual, variety is the spice of life. Stand, walk, sit, stretch. Mix things up throughout the day and even throughout the week. Work from different locations, in different positions and expect different results. Changing your routine can provide enhanced performance, better sleep and even improved health. It can lower your blood pressure, improve your insulin usage and even decrease your chance of stroke and heart attack. It’s never too late to start — read the next article standing!