How to Stay Active in a Desk Job
A huge number of people work in offices, and while most of us don’t think twice about the impacts of sitting at a computer from 9-5, it could be bad for our health.
In fact, research has suggested that being actively sedentary for long periods of time could contribute to a whole host of ailments, from heart disease, to obesity and even some cancers.
Some experts even reckon that sitting is worse than smoking, is more dangerous than parachuting, and claims more lives than HIV.
However, even if you’re chained to a chair all day long, there’s no need to quit your job for the sake of your health. There are plenty of ways you can inject some activity into your daily routines, even when you’re desk-bound.
© Elnur / Adobe Stock
Take regular breaks
Avoid turning into a desk potato by taking regular short breaks throughout the working day. Ideally, get up from your seat every hour and walk about for at least five minutes. Go and make a drink, visit the loo or carry out tasks away from your desk, such as filing or photocopying.
It can be hard finding time to take breaks, especially if you’re busy, but set a timer or get up on the hour every hour, to form healthy habits. At the very least, perform some stretches at your desk, as often as you can.
Speak to colleagues
It’s quick and easy to ping an email across to colleagues but this won’t get your muscles moving. Instead, next time you need to communicate with a work chum, get off your chair and go over to talk to them in person. If colleagues are located on another floor, take the stairs to see them, instead of the lift. Similarly, if you need to make a phone call, get up off your seat and walk around as you talk. If you need to thrash out ideas with colleagues, suggest a walk outside to discuss issues rather than sitting in a stuffy boardroom. The fresh air will get your thought processes flowing.
If your lunch break consists of eating a sandwich at your desk while checking friends’ social media updates, you’re not doing your health any favours. Take this time to get away from your desk. Get outside if you can for some fresh air, and if there are sports facilities near by, even better.
Studies have shown that workers who exercise during their lunch break can boost their performance when they return to their desk by around 15%. Crucially, you’re more likely to avoid any post-lunch energy dips if you’ve spent your dinner hour outdoors or doing exercise.
Gadgets and equipment
There are various gadgets and equipment available that can help to make you less sedentary at your desk, so see if any could be used in your working situation. For example, an adjustable desk can be raised so that you work for some of the day while standing. Alternatively, sit on an exercise ball while you work to maintain good posture. For those serious about getting active, a treadmill desk would make a great investment, allowing you to work at a laptop as you get striding. Or, if that sounds too strenuous, why not consider placing a mini exercise bike under your desk so you can pedal as you pound your keyboard?