Well this is my first actual blog post and I thought I’d start it off with something I actually know a lot about – sitting at desks! So I’ve been stuck in the ol’ chair since I was 19 and as probably everyone on Earth knows, it takes a toll! There’s a reason sitting has been called the new smoking. Did you know that, when you’re sitting, you have pounds upon pounds of pressure sitting on your lower back – and what do we do about it? Nothing! The simplest way to ease that pressure is simply to stand up and so many people don’t even think about it. The next time you’re in a meeting or room with lots of people sitting, notice how many start shifting around and moving halfway through!
So what is there to do? If you’re lucky enough to have a progressive company, you may be able to talk someone into getting you a standing desk. But what if you keep asking, and asking, and asking…. (not that I would know about that…) then what? You can always take walks at lunchtime, but what if it’s raining or snowing outside? Then you do something else! Here are a few things that I’ve picked up over the years that make desk life a bit more bearable:
- Sitting Stretches – I’ve included a little graphic from some work friends of mine here to show you some great desk exercises that are generally unobtrusive or obnoxious.
- Take Walking Breaks: Okay, so I know this one sounds a little obvious, but when’s the last time you really thought about taking a break and getting up and walking? For this I have a few good resources:
- Free Web Browser Extension: FitBolt | This nifty little browser extension will add a small button to your web browser that will alert you to stretch or move around a little bit, and will even supply the stretches for you. You can set it to be really basic or more dynamic, depending on what your office environment is like. FitBolt also connects to your FitBit (although not directly related) and will sync up into your daily activity.
- FitBit Alta | I am not really in the habit of advertising products, and I can assure that nobody paid me to write this, but I do have to mention what I love, and that is my FitBit Alta. The older models, to my knowledge, do not have built in walk reminders, but the Alta will give you a little nudge on the :50 of each hour if you haven’t gotten at least 250 steps. If you have an older model with just alarms, a similar concept could be created with manually setting those throughout the day.
- Your Cell Phone Alarm | Obviously if you have a cell phone, you have an alarm and with a little work up front, you could easily set up walking reminders to go off at convenient times throughout the day.
- Do Squats – ANYWHERE YOU CAN! : Okay so this may sound a little odd, but I do squats in the bathroom. Sometimes I’ll even do some stretches or deep breathing too (depending on who’s been in there recently). The bathroom is one of the few havens of privacy in office life, so take advantage of it! If there’s a wall-stall with enough room, do a chair sit for a few seconds! The handicapped stall is great for things like squats, lunges, even jumping jacks if you’re brave. Of course I have to say, please do not used the handicapped stall if you have people who actually need it in your building! I’m often one of the last ones in my building (thank you staggered arrival times) so I will sometimes walking-lunge to my desk/bathroom/kitchen/etc. Great leg workout and gets the heart pumping!
- Use the furthest printer/water fountain/restroom: This one gets tossed around a lot and I hesitated to include it, but it really is a good idea. I don’t really like sounding like I’m advocating to waste company time, but it’s pretty well known that taking frequent breaks at work can actually help you get more actual work done.
- Stay Hydrated (aka the excuse to go to the kitchen and get one more cookie): EVERYBODY knows that staying hydrated is important, but did you know HOW important it is? Well you’ll have to wait for another blog post on that. For now, just know that even mild dehydration (like when you start to feel actively thirsty) can make you feel tired and lethargic. If you’re like me and super picky about bottled water, get yourself a nifty glass or bottle and use that as a great reason to get up and move once in a while.
I hope some of these tips get you thinking of more ways you can get up and move! Leave a comment about how you do wellness in the workplace and look out for another post in the future about this! It’s surprisingly hard to not just content dump….
Until next time, be well!