I’ve been working a desk job for the past 13 years and I’ve just recently learned how important being healthy really is. That includes proper nutrition AND physical activity. You probably already know, but a lack of physical activity can create an onset of many health risks. Unfortunately, you cannot have one without the other.
For many people with a full time job, it can be very hard to fit in any type of physical activity and therefore they rely solely on nutrition during the week. Trust me, I get it. If you have a demanding full time job like me, your focus the majority of the time is at work or dealing with the demands of your household. If you’re in a corporate setting, it can be even more challenging.
Many people in a corporate work environment, like myself, sitting more than 5 hours a day. Yes, I said 5 hours. Crazy, right? We’re either working at our desk or in meetings the majority of the day. Unfortunately this sitting can lead to decreased longevity, among other things. The American Journal of Preventative Medicine actually found that sitting for long stretches of time can increase our risk for heart disease and cancer. What’s even more shocking is that even if people had physical activity in their lives, their lifespan was still shortened because of the extended periods of sitting.
I don’t know about you, but I definitely want to live a long, healthy, happy life. So what do we do to slow the aging process? One way to do this is to switch to a standing desk or one that can be adjusted throughout the day. While many corporate offices do not have this luxury yet, I believe there is a movement to go in this direction. The organization I work for not only has adjustable desks, it also has walk stations where individuals can walk at a slow pace while they work. I should consider myself lucky.
Another way to get in some activity during your day is to change up your meetings. Switch from meetings in a conference room to mobile meetings and hold your meetings on the go. This mobile meeting allows for business activities to take place while allowing small groups for people to get moving. Think of it in the Spring or Summer – get in some fresh air and get work done! It’s the best of both worlds, really.
Unfortunately, both of these options may not work for you. If that’s the case and you just cannot find time to leave your desk, why not get in some activity at your desk. For starters, make sure you’re sitting with the best posture you have. This means sitting up straight with your abdominal muscles engaged. Sitting like this helps you strengthen your core and can help to reduce the early onset of cancer.
Want to kick it up a notch? Do some leg lifts while at sitting. This will not only work the strongest muscle group in your body – your legs – but also your core. If you keep weights or stretch bands at your desk, you can even add some intensity. You can do even more too! Just think about squats, tricep dips and wall push-ups just to name a few.
The biggest recommendation I have for you is to stand and stretch at least once an hour. Stretch your arms and legs as both areas of your body may get stiff. Whatever you decide, make sure you at least attempt to factor in some physical activity throughout your day. It can be as little or as much as you want, but I promise you, your body and mind will thank you later.
I’d love to hear what activities you fit in during your workday! Comment below to share some ideas.