Tips to get your move on during the workday

Thanks to a student-led initiative to encourage more people to take the stairs, the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health renovated its stairwell to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

Attention commuters and desk sitters: We’ve all heard the news that sitting is not good for our health. Experts tell us that humans are not meant to be sedentary and inactivity can lead to serious health problems.

The good news is that you can lower your health risks by simply moving 30 minutes a day. And, you can break up that half hour into small chunks because every minutes counts. We’re not talking about jogging either. These are small activities to incorporate into your day that help you get up and move.

The steps you take can begin in your office.

Move your wastebasket so that you have to get up to toss your trash or move items within hands' reach farther away. Walk to a colleague’s desk instead of emailing or calling. Walk to the water cooler throughout the day and then take the stairs to a restroom on another floor. Do not work through lunch at your desk. Instead, take a break and you will return to work more productive.

Here are six tips to incorporate movement into your day:

  • Deskercise with resistance bands. Use a resistance band to do foot curls and arm stretches at your desk.
  • Take the stairs. Climbing the stairs is an excellent way to build in quick bursts of exercise over the course of the day and help you reach your goal of at least 30 minutes.
  • Don’t waste time waiting. When standing in line, use that time stretch your neck and shoulders; bend your knees for flexibility.
  • Mid-meeting stretch. Lead a simple five-minute stretch break in the middle of any meeting that lasts longer than an hour and a half. It will make everyone feel good and re-energize the group.
  • Park your car farther away. If you park your car far away from the entrance when you’re at the mall, do the same at work. This is an easy way to build in some time walking, which is one of the best things you can do for your health. Likewise, public transit riders can bypass the most convenient stop and walk to a few blocks away to get in a few minutes of exercise.
  • Find apps that remind you to move. Apps that count your steps throughout the day provide immediate feedback and are great motivators. You can also use apps to remind you to move while at your desk. Studies show that taking small breaks and refreshers at regular intervals throughout the workday greatly improves efficiency and overall health. See if your organization offers software that reminds you to take a break. This tool analyzes your computer work patterns and provides prompts for physical activity breaks.

The point is to think differently about sitting all day and get up and move.

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