23 Feb Tips to Stop a Sedentary Work Life
For those of you with desk jobs and the many now working from home, it is likely you’re sitting down for most of the working day. Plus, after a busy day it is easy to simply crash on the couch for the rest of the day to unwind.
But reality is, all that lack of activity is really bad for you. Living a sedentary lifestyle by sitting on your behind all day is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, metabolic syndromes, a range of bone conditions and has a strongly linked to poorer mental health.
Research shows that being sedentary for as little as four hours a day can lead to many of these health risks. Not ideal when on average, Australians sit for almost 10 hours each day! Therefore, it’s time to get moving for the goodness of your own health.
Here are some great ways to incorporate movement into your day that doesn’t involve going to the gym.
Count your Steps
We don’t need a health expert to tell us exercise offers a myriad of health benefits, from lowering blood pressure to making us feel good, but you don’t need to go to the gym for an hour to reap its benefits. Try walking. There is strong evidence that walking regularly can reduce the number of risk factors related to a range of conditions like obesity, heart disease and stress. Set yourself daily goals like trying to hit 10,000 steps a day is a great starting point. Download an exercise App like Strava or get yourself a FitBit to keep track of your daily steps. It will keep you accountable, plus it’s fun to set yourself personal challenges to beat.
Stretch it Out
Yoga is a fantastic option for anyone that has been static for the majority of the day and one of the best things about yoga is that it can be done anywhere anytime and for as little or as long as you like. Taking time to move joints, particularly the hips and shoulders, through their full range of motion can help to address postural issues, remove muscular tension and reduce stress. There are also great Apps and free YouTube videos that can guide you through a stretch routine from the comfort of your own home to help ease sore necks and backs from sitting down for too long.
An easy way to force yourself to stand up is investing in a stand up desk. Standing while working, even for just 30 minutes at a time (4 hours a day or more) can have a major impact on your health and body such as lowering the risk of weight gain. Using a stand up desk may also help lower blood sugar levels and the risk of heart disease. As an added health bonus it can help easy back pain and improve mood and energy levels.
Take a Lunch Break
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to purchase lunch. Rather, take advantage of your lunch break and get outside. If possible, find a beautiful park or place in nature where you can enjoy your lunch in the fresh air. Leaving your desk for lunch gives your mind and eyes a much-needed rest, and can be a great way to add an extra 30 minutes of walking to your day. Just watch – you will come back feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to take on whatever work you have left in the afternoon.
Exercise every day for at least 30 minutes – no excuses. If you can raise your heart rate even slightly and involve some sort of weight-bearing, then you’re on track to have a positive impact on most key health measures and reverse some of the health issues brought on by long periods of sitting. You won’t look for an excuse if you find something that matches your abilities and that you enjoy. If it can be integrated into your schedule easily and you don’t dread it, you have a better chance of sticking to it.