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Staying fit at work

Staying fit at work

May 30, 2018

How to cut down on sitting

Image credit: iStock/PeopleImages

Sitting is bad for you. You probably already figured that it’s better to go for a run than lounge on the sofa for an hour, but you might not realise how much damage spending a day sitting down at work is doing to you. In fact, we’ve already covered this with an infographic showcasing how it can be as bad as smoking.

That might seem overdramatic, but it’s actually a simple fact. Around ten per cent of premature deaths are due to inactivity, which is about the same amount as those due to smoking. Working a sedentary job raises your chances of getting serious illnesses like cancer and diabetes, and increases your likelihood of becoming obese.

Of course, we’re not just here to tell you how bad excessive sitting can be; we’re also going to help you overcome it. While the majority of jobs nowadays involve no physical activity, there are still plenty of ways you can avoid extended periods of sitting. For example…

 

Stay away from emails

One of the downsides of modern technology is that it’s made it far too easy for us to do every aspect of our jobs without leaving our seat. Have you found yourself sending an email or an instant message to a colleague who is in the same building as you? Or even on the same floor, or in the same room? If so, you need to institute a walking-distance email ban.

If you can reasonably walk to someone you need to speak to, then you should do so. Obviously this won’t work for everyone – you can’t be expected to walk over and talk to your boss who works in another city – but it is a good rule to abide by to avoid sitting. It means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get up and have a stroll throughout the day.

You might not be walking particularly far each time, but that’s fine. The danger of sitting is the length of time you spend in the same place. Getting up frequently and having short walks cuts up this sedentary period, reducing your health risks.

 

Invest in a standing desk

You don’t necessarily need to be sitting down all day to do most jobs. It’s just as easy to use a computer standing up as it is sitting down, but the former is much better for your body. This is the reason for the recent popularity of standing desks, which allow people to get their work done without having to remain seated for nine hours at a time.

If you can present your boss with research showing the health benefits of a standing desk, they might be willing to pay for one. If not, they are more likely to be okay with you buying one for yourself and bringing it into work.

If they don’t allow standing desks at all, you can always opt for a stability ball. These inflatable spheres help engage your core while you’re sitting, as you will need to be keeping your balance while you sit on them. This makes them the next-best thing to standing all day.

 

Keep active outside of work

One issue many people have is that as soon as they get home from work, they just want to collapse on the sofa and relax for an evening. This is understandable, but it’s also a terrible idea if you’ve just spent the entire day sat behind a desk. Instead, you need to work to be as active as possible at home.

For example, you could fit in an hour of yoga while you’re watching TV, or even perform a full workout in your living room. You could go for a run or a cycle before dinner, or even stop off at the swimming pool after work for a few laps.

This applies to your commute as well. If your office is within walking, running or cycling distance of your home, then you shouldn’t be using a car or any public transport. If you have an excuse to be active, take it! Not only will it be much better for your health, it will also help you feel better, more alert and more creative, all of which will be a great help in your job.

 

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