According to one of the world’s leading cancer doctors and pioneering biomedical researchers, Dr. David B. Agus; “Sitting for five hours a day is equivalent on a health basis as smoking a pack-and-a-quarter of cigarettes.”
Agus is not alone in believing that sitting down is killing us and many studies agree with his philosophy. An Australian study with over 220,000 participants, found that even active people (who exercised for at five or more hours a week) had an increased risk of death if they sat longer.
Another study from the American Cancer Society tracked 123,000 people for an 18-year period found the death rate was higher in people that sat more than six hours per day.
Wow. Scary stuff, right?
However, when you dig a bit deeper into these studies, it becomes clear that the problem isn’t so the fact that we’re sat down, it’s long periods of inactivity while we’re sat.
Luckily, short bouts of exercise between conference calls and emails can help counter the negative effects of sittings and lead to better health. So whatever you have on your t0-do list, we’re going to show you 11 surefire ways to help you towards a healthier workday.
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1. Take the stairs
You burn around 0.17 calories for each stair you climb, and while this may not sound like a lot, it’ll soon add up.
2. Have a wander
Walking is an underrated way to get healthier. Instead of phoning or emailing your colleagues, occasionally get up and take a wander to their desk.
3. Stand up meetings
Standing can be a great way to wake up your body after periods of sitting. Try to organise a few stand up meetings with your colleagues as a way to get up from your desk.
4. Stress ball workout
You can strengthen your forearms sat and your desk using a simple stress ball workout.
5. Maintain good posture
If you usually slouch at your desk, maintaining a good posture will give your back muscles a good workout.
6. Leg lifts
Lift one leg under your desk until your desk until it’s parallel with the floor, do 10-15 reps and then switch legs.
7. Calf raises
If you’re waiting by the printer or microwave, simply lift your heels of the ground, place them down again and repeat.
8. Leave the office at lunch
Instead of walking from your desk to the kitchen and back at lunchtime, head outside for an extended walk and some fresh air.
Sitting at your desk all day can make your muscles a bit tight and sore. You can even stretch your arms and upper body while sat down
10. Shoulder shrug
This one isn’t recommended for meetings (unless you’re really undecided on a topic). To perform shoulder shrugs, simply move your shoulders up towards your ears for 5 seconds and then relax.
11. Muscle clenches
Clench muscles for a couple of seconds and then relax. Your abs are a great candidate for this exercise.
Bonus: Set activity reminders
Most activity tracking apps and devices have a reminder feature allowing you to set an alarm after a certain period without movement. I use my Jawbone UP to reminder me to get up every 45 minutes.
Over to you
How do you like to stay active at work? I’d love to hear your favourite desk exercises and how you try to burn a few extra calories during the workday.
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