On the good news front, you don’t have to quit your desk-bound day job if you want to keep your body healthy.
The study found that standing up and moving more during the day can reduce your chances of dying early from heart disease. So short of doing laps around the office or whipping out your best sun salutations during your weekly staff meeting, here are some practical tips on how to get moving while you work:
Get a pedometer. 10,000 steps is actually pretty difficult, notes Ricanati. “You have to work at it to get there,” she says. Even if you don’t clock in that amount, wearing a pedometer is a good thing because it keeps you conscious of how much physical activity you’re logging during the day. Strap on a pedometer and use it as an incentive to move more.
Sit on a medicine ball. This will help to strengthen your core because you have to actively work to sit on it, meaning your muscles in your stomach and back are engaged—unlike sitting in a chair. A medicine ball can also serve as a visual cue to remind you to move, according to Ricanati.
Take frequent breaks. Get up and move around throughout the day. Instead of emailing a co-worker, walk down the hall and talk to her in person. If you are meeting with two or three other people, have a walking meeting outdoors instead of sitting in a conference room. This nets you fresh air, exercise and probably better ideas. Another tip: Refill your water bottle frequently so you get moving and stay hydrated at the same time. And be sure to walk around either indoors or outdoors during your lunch break.
Stretch at your desk. Breaking into push-ups is a bit much for the office (unless you work in a gym). Instead, do some easy stretches for your arms, legs and back regularly during the day. “Simple stretches make you more aware,” says Ricanati. “If you’re mindful that you need to be moving, you will move more.”
Walk to work. Okay, if you can’t walk all the way to the office, at least park farther away in the parking lot rather than aiming for that sweet spot up front. Better yet, if you’re taking public transportation, get off a stop early, advises Ricanati. You can also take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
“Whatever you can do to remain active during the day, do it,” she adds. “We’re now a society of sitting. We’ve created a lifestyle of being immobile so now we need to get creative about being mobile.”
Maybe those treadmill desks that we all snickered at originally aren’t such a bad idea after all.
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