You may have heard that “sitting is the new smoking.” A study comparing mortality rates of sedentary nonsmokers and smokers who exercise vigorously found that active smokers lived significantly longer than the couch-potato nonsmokers, further demonstrating that a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous for your health.
But what can you do if you have a desk job that leaves you sitting for long stretches of time? For workplace wellness, the good news is that any change from a seated position can be beneficial. Just standing up to stretch at regular intervals will help your circulation. Try setting your watch to buzz hourly to remind you to take a break. Or you could stand up and wander around your office during phone calls. You will have higher levels of energy and engagement with your customer or colleague, and you will feel more refreshed after the call.
Another way to enhance your workplace wellbeing is using a standing desk. You can rig an inexpensive standing desk by using an adjustable tray table. Mine is perched on top of my office desk at just the right height for me to use my laptop or to fill-in charts during my break between seated therapy sessions.
When you’re ready to escape your desk altogether, consider scheduling walking meetings with your coworkers. In addition to feeling physically restored after your walk, you will probably come up with more creative ideas during your discussion. By activating your circulatory system, you are nourishing and cleansing the brain, thus bringing your best thinking to the task at hand.
Look for other opportunities to move during your workday. Take the stairs to use the restroom on a different floor. Go for an extra lap when you visit the water cooler. Do 10 jumping jacks between tasks. Start your next meeting with a group stretch. Take a walk on your lunch break. By incorporating movement throughout your day, you can improve your physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing — no spandex required!