Many of us get into work, sit down at our desk and tend not to move again until we have too. British people sit for 8.9 hours each day on average and it’s one of the unhealthiest things we can do. Sitting at a desk all day increases the likelihood of heart disease, weight gain, and poor circulation, amongst many other things.
We sit in our offices, we sit in our cars or on trains, we sit on the sofa at the end of the day, and we tend to sit there until our programme finishes, or the movie is over. So, what can we do to be healthier at our desks?
Take hourly breaks
Every hour or so, get up, take a break and stretch your legs for a little while. Walk to the furthest room, walk to get a drink or walk to the bathroom. Wherever you go, just move. It doesn’t have to be a long walk, but it will stretch your legs and keep circulation going.
Work standing up
With some of the latest trends being to have a treadmill instead of a chair; lots of offices offer Sit Stand Desks – which give you the option to raise your computer so you are able to work standing up. The benefits of standing at work, include: improved metabolism, blood circulation, posture, oxygen flow to the brain, concentration and collaboration, and reduced stress and blood pressure.
Walk when talking
If you are able to use a headset at work when taking a call, just wander around for a little bit. Or if you are due a catch-up meeting with someone, and there’s no need for a presentation, use this opportunity to have a walking meeting. It gets you both away from your desks and stretches those legs.
Bring lunch to work
Make a packed lunch for work as you will know exactly what you’re putting into your body, and exactly how much. Try not to rely on local supermarkets to have a healthy sandwich on the shelf waiting for you. Take control of your health by making your own lunch.
Make the most of lunches
Make sure you leave your desk at lunch time. That’s right, stop what you are doing and leave your desk, no more sitting for your lunch break. It is important to give yourself a mental break, not just for your wellbeing but also for your productivity levels and health. Go and spend your lunch break in a different environment, away from your screen and relax. Use 10 mins to go outside and get some fresh air, and go for a walk, before sitting down and enjoying your homemade lunch in the staff room. Take full advantage of your lunch hour. Fresh air, and a healthy lunch will help you feel more productive for the rest of the afternoon – you could even create a walking group so that you don’t have to go for a lunch wander alone.
Drink more water
This sounds obvious, but water really does help. There are multiple benefits to drinking water, but keeping yourself hydrated is really important. Get yourself a water bottle that is purely for your desk, and that stays at work. In the morning fill it up, and aim to have it finished by lunch time, and then refill it for the afternoon. Yes, you might need to go to the bathroom a little more often to begin with, but if you are taking your hourly breaks to go for a walk, at least you won’t be stuck for a destination.
Try desk exercises
We spend a large portion of our day sat at our desks, so if you want to keep moving whilst sat down then try some desk exercises. Short bouts or aerobics, strength exercises, and stretching at your desk can help improve fitness levels and heart health. Why not get a colleague to do them with you, and then you can remind each other – maybe hourly, just do one exercise together throughout the day to keep yourselves moving. If you are looking for what desk exercises to do – have a read here: https://greatist.com/fitness/deskercise-33-ways-exercise-work.
Read more: How to make your work day more active