Almost everyone I know works in an office. And as much as we like to believe we get up enough during the day, a lot of us don't. Add to that collapsing on the couch after a really hectic workday, and suddenly you've become a model spokesperson for a sedentary lifestyle. Our ancestors would not be proud.
While hitting the gym for an hour each day is a good thing, it's not enough — humans were not designed to sit down all day. We used to hunt, gather, and walk everywhere. We used to go to a conversation, not fire off an email or text. And while these little time-savers may be helpful, they can also be potentially harmful. An Australian study found that people with sedentary lifestyles are more at risk to develop disease. On the upside, individuals who move during otherwise sedentary behavior had a 16 percent smaller waist size.
To see some simple tips on how to get moving throughout the day,
- Unclutter your email. Instead of firing off an email, walk down the hall and speak to your colleague in person. It gets you out of your chair, and gives you the benefit of social interaction.
- Look beyond your lunch break. Many people only get up when it's time to eat. Instead, take small breaks throughout the day to help your body loosen up and stretch out from all that sitting. A friend of mine sets a timer at her desk, and every hour gets up and does a quick lap around her office. As an alternative, take a brisk 15- to 20-minute walk during your workday, or do some stretches in a conference room.
- Go offsite. If you have a scheduled meeting with a colleague, suggest leaving the office. A short walk and a little sunshine will make the meeting more productive!
- If you can stand up to do it, get to it. If you find yourself doing something that can also be accomplished while standing up and/or walking about, do it! Stand up and walk around when taking a phone call, use the stairs instead of the elevator, and ditch your remote control by getting off of the couch to adjust the volume or change channels.