The average American person sits about 6.5 hours per day, which can lead to long term health concerns like disrupted blood sugar levels, decreased metabolic calorie burn and increased blood pressure levels. These are just to name a few.
Finding ways to increase exercise throughout the day could be the difference in preventing future health issues.
Below you will find five ways to help you incorporate exercise throughout your workday.
1. Use the stairs.
We live in such a fast paced world that we need to move from point A to point B in a timely manner. However, when considering exercise, opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. If you work in a popular building, you might find the stairs are actually quicker.
2. Use a standing desk
Always opt for a standing desk when given the chance. On top of helping your body improve its circulation, standing desks will help keep you energized. You’ll need the energy to motivate yourself to take short walks during the day.
3. Take short walk breaks throughout the day (and set reminders)
Speaking of short walks, you want to set reminders either on your computer or phone to go on short walks even if it is to take a lap around your office. A technique that I like to use is the Pomodoro Technique:
- Set a timer for 25 minutes to work on one specific task.
- When the time is complete, give yourself a short break of no more than 5 minutes. During that short break is a prime opportunity to go for a walk.
- Continue this pattern until tasks or the day is complete.
Not only will you get tasks done in a more timely manner, but you will also get your daily movement in.
4. Incorporate simple movements like squats and calf raises
Now that you have opted for the standing desk, another way to incorporate movement is to add calf raises while at your desk. Even this simpler movement will help you feel more energized.
If you do not have the option of the standing desk, squatting to your chair 4-5 times before settling into your chair will help make your legs stronger and work your core. You could also do 4-5 squats when getting up from your chair.
5. Incorporate neck stretches after meetings
Some believe that exercise needs to be a long strenuous event, but even the simplest of stretches can help improve your overall quality of life. After long meetings or even just long days of sitting at your desk, it is super important to incorporate stretches. These stretches will not only help improve circulation, but will also help improve posture.
Now the suggestions above are not the end all be all for incorporating movement into your work day. These will at least get you started. Always start simple, then improve and incorporate more each week.
One thing that I always tell people is to strive for 10,000 steps per day; hitting that goal will help you burn approximately 500 more calories per day.
Ultimately, you want to find things that work best for you in your work environment.
Alexandra Chin (‘11) is a Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. Alexandra owns her own online personal training company, Exercise Corrected, focused on helping busy professionals achieve their fitness goals through realistic approaches without spending hours in the gym.
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