We are born with all the flexibility and range of motion that we would love to have in our 30s, 40s and beyond, but lets face; at some point life takes over and we put more emphasis on work and less on health.
Our habit of sitting for long periods of time has to change; it's not just wreaking havoc on our posture and causing low back pain. We need to look beyond just the negative effects on posture and towards the long-term impact on our overall health. It has been shown in a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that excessive sitting can correlate to a 20 per cent increased risk for cancer, heart disease and even premature mortality. The increased risk of developing diabetes can be as much as a 90 per cent.
Today we know that the most effective means of reversing these risks is to move more and sit less. Studies also now support the fact that those who regularly exercise are still susceptible to these adverse effects of sitting. So, where do changes need to be made? It comes down to a complete shift in perspective when it comes to how we spend our time at work. The total spectrum of movement within a 24-hour period is what's most important. Here are six tips to keep you healthy by making your office active.
1. Stand More. Consider investing in a stand-up desk. Varidesk provides a great solution with their adjustable stand-up desk allowing you to easily incorporate standing into your workday at regular intervals. This unit can be ordered and delivered from fitter1.com with no installation required -- a very effective way to ensure that you stand at regular intervals while at work.
2. Monitor Movement. We were meant to move; society and work demands have pushed us toward sedentary habits. Moving more starts with awareness. Tracking your steps daily can have a powerful impact on increasing the awareness of how much or how little you actually move in a day. Set a goal for yourself to attain 10,000 steps or more daily. There are numerous activity trackers available on the market such as those available from Fitbit and Jawbone.
3. Create Movement Triggers. Try incorporating some simple triggers into your workday to keep you moving. Try standing when you answer the phone or keeping a small glass of water at your desk so your refills are more frequent. Another great way to ensure that you get more activity into your workday while also inspiring others is to change some of your meetings to walking meetings. You'd be surprised not only on how much better you feel but also how productive you meetings can become.
4. Train your Backside. Sitting creates tightened, shortened flexors and internal rotators, which causes the front of your body to be tight and hunched over. It is critical to incorporate strength training into your exercise routine that targets your posterior chain of muscles (the back side of your body). Here's a Posture Workout that can assist you in muscular balance and have you standing tall.
5. Plan Purposeful Exercise Breaks. Planning a purposeful exercise break into your day can be a great way to not only stay in shape at the office but can also increase your work productivity. Whether it's making the time to go for a walk or do some flights of stairs mid-day, be sure to spend some time being active. Why not set your computer alarm to provide you regular activity reminders. Check out this Office Fit Workout for some great tips and exercises and stretches completed right at your desk.
6. Stretch Regularly. Flexibility imbalances can be significantly exacerbated by long periods of sitting. Typically, the seated position forces the flexors of the hip and the internal shoulder rotators to be come tight and shortened. Try setting your computer alarm to prompt you every 30 minutes to stand up and stretch, your body will thank you for it. Here's a quick video on helping release tight muscles through Myofascial Release using a simple foam roller and lacrosse ball.
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