The above figures are a bit depressing, especially for office workers who don't have much of a say in this! Within the space of just over 10 years, we have managed to become a population where we no longer need to move anymore! We have a gadget to do pretty much everything we need, technology as great as it is, is turning us into unsociable and sedentary beings.
Our bodies were designed to move, not sit behind a desk for long periods. The more we sit the stiffer and less mobile we become over time. As a myotherapist, the majority of people I see are suffering from conditions that long hours of sitting contribute to - headaches, lower-back pain, neck and shoulder pain, eye strain, etc., etc. I see people who sit at their desk for up to 12 hours a day! I provide them with tips to help with posture and workstation set up, along with some ideas to get moving a bit more. I thought I would share some of these ideas with you.
- Avoid the lift or escalator and take the stairs - doing this each day will make a significant difference. You will be strengthening your leg muscles and getting your heart and lungs working harder. I rarely see people taking the stairs at stations, airports or in office buildings. My kids and I consistently take the stairs and always make it to the top before our stagnant escalator friends! In the early days, they would whine about this, but now they automatically go to the stairs.
- If you take the train or tram to work get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way - this may be a 10-15min walk each way (or even more if you can). Doing 3-4 times a week is fantastic and getting your heart and lungs working.
- Have a walk at lunchtime - take your runners to work (to use on your extra walk from the early train/tram stop) and to go outside and have a walk on your lunch break. Not only will you be getting some exercise; you will be recharging your brain, refreshing yourself for an afternoon back at the desk. You'll be amazed how much better you will feel for it and how much sharper you will feel at work.
- Walk when on the phone - if you are making or taking call at work, walk while you talk.
- Get up from your desk every hour for 5-10min - do some stretching, walk around the office, walk a flight of stairs or walk to a colleague's desk for a stand-up chat. This not only gets you moving but forces you to adjust your posture and gives your eyes a break from the computer screen. Set an alarm on your computer to make sure you remember to do this.
- If your work has sit/stand desks, use them - alternate between the stand-up and sit down desk. This gives you a break from sitting, gets the blood flowing and makes you move! You can purchase these now for as little as $500.
- Make movement normal - incorporating movement into your day should be normal. Aim to introduce the above and after a few weeks it will just happen without you thinking about it.
- Start moving TODAY!