Staying Active in the Workplace
Newsflash: most of us don’t move enough in our daily lives. We’ve become increasingly sedentary, and even those of us who have regular fitness routines often spend long hours working at desk jobs, driving, and sitting in front of screens. Unsurprisingly, studies have shown that sedentary lifestyles can lead to a myriad of health complications, from back pain to depression to high cholesterol to diabetes.
In fact, some doctors have dubbed the link between inactivity and disease Sedentary Death Syndrome, or “SeDS.” Scarily, Sedentary Death Syndrome is estimated to kill over 300,000 Americans each year. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that men who spent over 6 hours of leisure time sitting each day were 20 percent more likely to die within the 14 year follow-up period than men who sat for 3 hours of less. For women, this figure doubled to a 40 percent higher death rate among the women who spent more time sitting.
We aren’t telling you this to scare you. We know that you know how important it is to stay active. The problem is fitting some physical activity into our days. With our busy lives, it can seem tricky at best and daunting at worst. So, how can we stay healthy and active while managing all of our other responsibilities?
Luckily, you don’t have to be an Iron Man athlete to reap the benefits of a more active lifestyle; little things can have a big impact! One great way to start is to stand more often. On the up side, many companies are increasingly focused on employee health and ergonomics, so standing desks are becoming more and more prevalent. Creating a standing workspace is a great way to decrease the amount of sedentary time in your life. You’ll also enjoy benefits like a higher daily calorie burn, improved posture, and greater alertness.
If standing at work isn’t an option, be sure to take frequent breaks so that you avoid sitting for extended periods of time. Even a quick trip to the water-cooler can help. Other ways to boost your workplace activity level includes walking down the hall to talk to a coworker in person instead of sending an email, or suggesting walking meetings whenever possible. Remember that every step counts toward your big picture goal of a more active lifestyle!