Your sedentary job is probably bad for your health – here’s how you can increase movement and avoid sitting too much.
By now we all know that sitting 8 hours a day is probably bad for your health and that more movement is not only good for you but it also helps to increase brainpower and productivity. However, until companies can afford for everyone to have treadmills at standing desks, we need to take action and change our habits now to make sure we move more -- and move often -- during a typical workday.
1. Move at least 2 hours a day
Population studies have shown that every 2 hours a day that is spent standing or moving -- rather than sitting -- contributes to better markers of cardiovascular health including improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Not sure if you’re moving 2 hours a day? Use a wearable fitness tracker such as a Fitbit to track your movement levels and count your steps. You can buy a simple entry-level fitness tracker that will count your steps and your track heart rate for under $100 – a small price to pay for increased health.
2. Improve your ratio of standing vs. sitting
A higher ratio of standing to sitting time is associated with less fat accumulation around body organs, including the liver, and lower overall body fat percentage. Increase standing and movement time by building in more incidental exercise during your normal daily activities. Can you walk to the train station on your way to work instead of taking the bus or car? Consider taking your running shoes to work and go for a 30-minute jog or power walk at lunchtime. Can you walk or bicycle the kids to school instead of driving them?
3. Reduce your risk for diabetes
Less time spent sitting correlates with better blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity, and a decreased risk of developing metabolic syndrome or Type II diabetes. Set the timer on your smartphone to ensure that you get up and move at least once an hour for 10-15 minutes. Get up and make yourself a cup of tea. Go out side for a short walk. Or visit a colleague on another floor for a short chat – and take the stairs instead of the elevator!
4. Encourage standing or “walk and talk” meetings
Individuals act more collaboratively and are less territorial during group brainstorming sessions when everyone is standing rather than sitting, resulting in meetings that are more efficient and purposeful. Promote a culture of standing at tall tables, or go outside for “walk and talk” meetings. Mix it up and try both! You might be surprised at the increased time efficiency and productivity.
5. Get up and move at least every 45 minutes
- Walk across the office to talk to a colleague instead emailing/calling/shouting
- Invest in a standing desk or a sit-stand desk and try to limit your sitting time to half of yourwork day
- Offer to do the office coffee run and clock up some extra mileage along with a dose of gratitude from your colleagues
- Choose the furthest printer/parking space/bathroom/water cooler to add incidental steps into your day
- Grab a friend and head out of the office for lunch rather than eating at your desk
- Feeling sleepy after lunch? Instead or reaching for a sugary treat, go outside for a 5 minute walk to get your circulation going
- Aim for at least 10,000 steps a day for baseline fitness and heart health
Lastly, the average adult attention span is about 20 minutes. This means that for most people your productivity will drop off incrementally after 20-30 minutes so staying glued to your desk for hours is not actually going to help you work any better! And in fact your performance will probably diminish. Better to get up and move to refresh your body and your brain!
Need help transforming your workplace culture into a more dynamic one? Contact us today to ask us about our combination of technical skills, scientific methodology, and industry expertise to help facilitate solutions critical to your organisation’s enduring success.