By Be Well Health Coach Kerry Bajaj
Sitting is bad for you! Prolonged sitting is linked with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and premature death. Some reports are saying that sitting is as harmful as smoking cigarettes.
Here are some tips to add more steps to your workday.
1. Count Your Steps
I truly had idea how sedentary my life was until I got a pedometer. The Fitbit, Jawbone UP and other pedometers are great tools to increase your awareness of how many steps you’re taking a day. I have the Jawbone UP and it sets a goal of walking 10,000 steps a day. I quickly figured out that if I didn’t exercise for 30 minutes and squeeze in some brisk walks, it was very nearly impossible to reach that goal. If you can’t buy one, try to borrow one for a week – you will learn a lot, I guarantee it!
2. Take a Brisk Walk at Lunchtime
I’m very lucky because I bring my dog to work, so I absolutely have to take her for a walk at lunchtime. Even at my last job, when I didn’t have a pup, I had a work buddy that I would always meet for a short spin around the park. We built it into our day, after eating and before going back to our desk for the afternoon. If you buy lunch, think about getting it from somewhere a few blocks away and don’t get it delivered!
3. Take the Stairs
If you work on the 10th floor, you might not want to take the stairs. But one option is to take the stairs for just 2 or 3 flights and hop on the elevator for the rest of the journey. It will still get your heart pumping. Or – I will admit that I don’t often climb the 5 flights of stairs to my office, especially since the stairwell is locked in the lobby. However, I often walk DOWN the 5 flights of stairs, which still does wake up my leg muscles, with a little less huffing and puffing.
4. Schedule an Outdoor Meeting
Think outside the cubicle when setting up meetings. If you have to do some brainstorming with a coworker, you could always do it while walking and talking. You may find it gets the creative juices flowing. I have a friend who works near Central Park and often does short brainstorming jogging sessions with a colleague — they love it!
5. Keep Key Office Supplies Far From Your Desk
The printer that I use is way down the hall, so every time I print I get to take a little stroll to pick up my documents. Every moment you get off your butt counts!
6. Switch to a Standing Desk
Standing desks, treadmill desks, the options are endless. Gaiam has a great balance ball chair that engages your core muscles — I had one at my last job and I loved it. If you’re not able to remodel your whole office, at least try to take phone calls standing up.
7. Drink Water!
In addition to the many health benefits of drinking water, it will force you to take more bathroom breaks, providing a good excuse to get out of your chair.
8. Take a Stretch Break
At my office we have a rather large bathroom, so I do some stretching in there. Just swinging my arms vigorously for 20 seconds feels amazing and gets the blood flowing. Or stretching my arms up high to touch the sky.
9. Use WorkRave
If you’re the type of person who can work for hours and forget to take a break, you can download a program like WorkRave which will ping you with a reminder to get up every 10 or 20 minutes.
10. Take a Smoke-free “Cigarette” Break
Are you jealous of the smokers in your office who get to go outside every hour for a smoke and fresh air? Don’t be! Take your own smoke-free nature break.
Enjoy and have fun getting those 10,000 steps a day!
Kerry, Be Well Coach