It’s known to everyone that being sedentary has adverse effects on your health. A desk job worker on an average sit for 40 hours a week, sometimes more. And, the new normal of working from home this year has added an extended pressure of managing kids, pets and doing day-to-day chores, leaving little to no time to exercise.
It’s not the act of sitting itself is fatal but the long term consequence of no physical movement cannot be ignored. Sedentary behavior is consistently linked to more than 30 chronic diseases and conditions, including a 112% increase in your risk of type 2 diabetes and a 147% increase in heart disease risk. (Leech, 2019)
According to U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day; only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week.
Benefits Of Physical Activity
According to the new Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, people of all ages and conditions can benefit from more physical activity, including aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises. The 2nd edition presents new findings on the benefits of regular physical activity, which include:
- Improved sleep
- Increased ability to perform everyday activities.
- Improved cognitive ability and a reduced risk of dementia.
- Improved bone and musculoskeletal health.
In addition, getting enough physical activity, along with eating a healthy diet, is the best way to maintain a healthy weight. People who want to lose weight may need to get more physical activity and reduce calorie intake.
Here are a few exercise ideas you can do right at your work stations. Don’t forget to speak to your medical professional /doctor before starting any new form of exercise.
Stand Up and Work
Look for ways to get out of your chair. Stand while talking on the phone. If possible, skip instant messaging and email, and instead walk to a colleague’s desk for a face-to-face chat.
Take Fitness Breaks
Rather than hanging out in the lounge, take a brisk walk, hike a few flights of stairs or do some gentle stretching. For example, face straight ahead, then lower your chin to your chest. Or, while standing, grab the back of one of your ankles or your pant leg and bring it up toward your buttock. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
It is particularly useful for people who use the computer often, these wrist stretches help you relieve and avoid wrist pain. For some quick ideas: Lift your palms, stretch your arms, press your palms into each other, shake your hands to get rid of any tension, or try some wrist curls using water bottles as weights.
Seated Leg Raises
Sit upright in your office chair. Straighten your left leg so that it is parallel to the floor and hold it in place for 10 seconds. Repeat both legs for a few times. Once you build up strength, try adding weight to the exercise by looping your purse or briefcase on your legs while you do the raises.
The Chest Opener
Sit on the edge of your chair, place both hands behind the lower part of the neck, round this position with your elbows slowly coming in, and hold the chin down. Then, open up your chest and arms while holding your head high and squeezing your shoulder blades, and repeat.
You can also try doing this stretch several times a day. Make sure you don’t hold your breath so you don’t get tired easily.
Keep Fitness Gear At Work
Store resistance bands, stretchy cords or tubes that offer weight-like resistance when you pull on them or small hand weights in a desk drawer or cabinet. Do arm curls between meetings or tasks.
At work, it’s difficult to put in one or two hours of physical activity. It’s best to aim small but consistent, start with 15 to 20 minutes every day. And, minimizing sedentary time is just as important for health as a nutritious diet and regular exercise.
Li, L. (2020, April 20). 13 Simple yet Effective Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk. TINYpulse. https://www.tinypulse.com/blog/sk-desk-exercises.
Staff, M. C. (2019, October 19). 10 easy ways to work out while you work. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-exercise/art-20047394.
President’s Council on Sports, F. & N. (2017, January 26). Facts & Statistics. HHS.gov. https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/index.html.
Leech, J. (2019, June 19). Is Sitting Too Much Bad for Your Health? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-sitting-is-bad-for-you.
NCCDPHP, N. C. for C. D. P. and H. P. (2019, September 25). Lack of Physical Activity. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/physical-activity.htm.