You probably already know “desk jobs” are terrible for our health. Staring at the same monitor all day is terrible on the eyes and horrible for focus. Sitting in the same seat all day kills your posture, which in turn destroys your spine and can bring on chronic pain, stiff joints, tight muscles, and tendons that don’t get nearly enough use. Being stationary eight to ten hours at a time inevitably turns into extra pounds. And of course, there’s the low energy ordeal thanks to all of it.
Getting an entirely new job that promises exercise and stretching sessions as your responsibilities probably isn’t an option, so getting around the debacle of the stationary workday requires some ingenuity, not a drastic lifestyle change. Here are a few simple hacks that can help you sneak more movement into your workday:
Get a Standing Desk
It’s already been mentioned that sitting an entire day is going to be terrible for your spine as well as your hips, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, neck…the list is long. Barring an incredibly expensive ergonomically customized chair that your boss probably won’t want to spring for, standing, at least in shifts, is going to be far better for your longterm health.
Standing instead of sitting can help blood flow and as long as you’re aware of having the proper posture, it can help that as well. But of course, too much standing isn’t going to fix everything either. Adjustable standing desks are probably best, allowing you to transition between the two throughout the day.
Make Meetings “Walk Meetings”
Steve Jobs, the Apple CEO who gave us the iPhone, swore by walking meetings.
The idea is exactly what it sounds like. When you have to meet with a boss or a coworker to discuss a project, a deadline, or anything that would regularly require people to huddle into an office for five minutes or even an hour, why not do so on the move?
From a productivity standpoint, research has found that walking meetings can actually increase creativity and strengthen the dynamics between those in the meeting.
“Even just having a desk between two people, it almost states that you’re in this position and they’re in that position,” says Paula Bracey, a director of project management at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. When you’re side-by-side, we’re there with our comfy shoes on and we’re just two people out walking.”
And speaking to the health benefits, Harvard Health Publications reported that “walking for 2.5 hours a week (21 minutes a day) can cut your risk of heart disease by 30%.” What’s more, walking has also been shown to “reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and keep you mentally sharp.”
Not a big meeting person? You can do the same for your phone calls. Since you probably work with a mobile wireless device, to begin with, why not get up and about when you’re on the line?
Pick the Long Route for Your Rituals
Do you have to park in the closest spot to your building? Do you need to take the elevator? Is there a bathroom on the opposite side of the building you could walk to rather than the one only 25 yards away?
Odds are you find countless different routes and paths around your everyday routines that could add a few steps here and there. Yes, it ultimately takes up more time but this is all in the name of health, not work efficiency. And what may seem like only a couple extra steps here and there — when you think about the sheer number of hours we spend in our workplace every day, every week, and every month — those extra steps will start to add up quick.