We lead extremely sedentary lives these days compared to 30 or 40 years ago. Millions of people spend several hours each day sitting at a desk, without bothering to get up to do anything other than visit the restroom. When you’re younger, you may not notice the effects of sitting all day, but boy oh boy, as you age…we promise you’ll start to realize the impact this habit has on your body!
People who spend much of their day in a sitting position are at a higher risk of developing serious conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Many of these individuals may also be at risk of suffering from repetitive use injuries. It’s important to stay as active as possible, even if you’re spending much of your day sitting.
Our clinic put together a list of six easy ways to stay active if you sit at a desk all day!.
Time to get more active…
1. Get some face time in with your co-workers and colleagues
Modern day technology has made it increasingly easy to get a message to someone in less than five seconds, however, sometimes this isn’t the best option for communication.
Instead of texting or sending an email each time you need to communicate with a colleague, make the effort to see someone in person. Even in a smaller office this can make a big difference in your activity level if you’re getting up to walk somewhere several times a day!
Got a message for your team mate that could be sent in an email? Get up and go knock on their door down the hall to see if they’re available to chat instead.
If you want to be more precise about how much activity you’re getting in, make a habit of walking 5 minutes every hour. During an average work day that would add up to 35 to 45 minutes of walking each day.
2. Swap your chair out for an exercise ball.
No, we’re not kidding. If you do need to sit, try an exercise ball! Sitting on an exercise ball forces a person to sit straight. Exercise balls will help your posture and strengthen your abdominal muscles. While exercise balls come in a wide range of prices, many can be purchased for less than thirty dollars. A physical therapist can advise you regarding the type and size that will work best for you.
3. Try a standing desk.
Standing desks are becoming more popular as time goes on. Working at a standing desk will help improve your posture, circulation, and endurance. Some standing desks are extensions that can be placed on top of your regular desks, allowing you to simply scoot your chair off to the side and stand while you work.
You may want to start out slow by standing for an hour or two at a time. Standing for several hours each day instead of sitting can also make a difference in the amount of calories you’ll be able to burn. If you’re working from home, this can also help you get in a little more activity than you might in an office.
4. Rethink your commute
Many people who don’t live that far from work get their daily exercise in by walking or biking to work. Even if it isn’t realistic to walk or bike to your job, you can still add some walking to your daily routine. Get off the train or bus several blocks away so you can at least walk part of the way. If you drive, park farther away. A few simple changes can get you moving more during the day.
5. Take breaks to stretch your body
Take the time to stand, stretch, and move around, even if it’s just near your desk. A trained physical therapist can design a simple stretching routine for you to do throughout the day. Physical therapy may be just what you need to get you moving more. It’s important to have your fitness level tested so a professional can put together the best stretches for your physical needs.
6. If all else fails, see a physical therapist
Even if you get adequate workouts in each week, sitting at a desk for hours each day can still be pretty rough on your body. When you sit all day, you’re at a much higher risk of developing neck and back pain.
Sitting for extended periods of time can result in poor posture as well as back and hip problems. A physical therapist can create an exercise program that works for your busy life. A physical therapy program can teach you stretches you can do at your desk during breaks and at home during the evenings to relieve the tension in your muscles and joints.
Therapy is not only useful for those recovering from surgery, it can help with everyday aches and pains too! Physical therapists are movement specialists who can not only treat your pain symptoms, but also pinpoint the source of your pain in order to prevent your problems from coming back in the future.
What are you waiting for?
If you’re looking for more ways to fit physical activity into your routine at work, contact one of our physical therapists at our clinic for more tips and information. Living with a chronic pain condition that prevents you from being as physically active as you’d like? They can help with that too! So, what are you waiting for? The path to living a healthier lifestyle is totally clear, and right in front of you. Get started on your journey today.