How to Keep Moving in the Workplace

When you are stuck in the office all week mainly sitting at computer or in meetings, you can forget how sedentary your day is. Our bodies need to move often, and adding a few periods of exercise each week is not enough for a healthy body.

Even if you regularly exercise, research has shown that the recommended physical activity per week may not undo the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle.

Epidemiologist Steven Blair, a professor of public health at the University of South Carolina, has spent 40 years investigating physical activity and health. He explains, “If you’re sitting, your muscles are not contracting, perhaps except to type. But the big muscles, like in your legs and back, are sitting there pretty quietly.”

When the major muscles aren’t moving, metabolism slows down. “We’re finding that people who sit more have less desirable levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides and even waist size”” he says. This can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and a number of health problems.*

So the body needs to move often and you need to find ways to add into your day simple movements even as you sit at the desk.  A Fit Bit or similar tool which helps remind you to get off the chair is a great help, but what movement can you do?

Below we share a few ideas on how to keep moving in the workplace – your work mates will hardly notice!

  1. Seated Torso Twist
    Good for: torso/back
    Place your right hand over your left knee whilst looking over your left shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on other side.
  2. Seated Ankle Circles
    Good for: ankles and calfs
    While sitting, raise your right leg and draw small circles clockwise 20 times, then anti-clockwise 20 times. Repeat with left leg.
  3. Arm Curls
    Good for: biceps
    Hold a full water bottle and let your arms fall to your sides. Slowly bend them upwards. Repeat three sets of 12 reps each arm.
  4. Calf Raises
    Good for: shoulders and legs
    Using your desk for support, stand on tip toes and hold position for 15 seconds. Lower down and repeat for 2 mins.
  5. Upward Stretch 
    Good for: torso, back, shoulders and arms
    A classic, but always works a charm, interlocking your fingers, reach with both arms to the ceiling, stretching out your back and arms. Continue until satisfied.

There is a great video on the Forbes website and some other ideas HERE – so no excuses!

Want to learn more ? We talk more about sitting less here and how using a laptop causes posture problems here.

REFERENCES:
*https://www.npr.org/2011/04/25/135575490/sitting-all-day-worse-for-you-than-you-might-think
http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/02/06/the-10-best-exercises-to-do-at-your-desk/#4a809cf13372
https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2010/05000/Sedentary_Behaviors_Increase_Risk_of.6.aspx
https://greatist.com/fitness/deskercise-33-ways-exercise-work
https://www.womenshealth.com.au/exercises-you-can-do-at-work
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