Most of us have heard about the health issues related to sitting at our desks for 8-10 hours every day. Those issues include a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, heart attack and stroke, a slower metabolism, and lower life expectancies. Other issues include brain fog, headaches, stiff neck and achy back. Unfortunately, spending a half an hour at the gym before or after work doesn’t undo the damage that prolonged sitting causes.
So what do you do if you work in an office and have to sit for many hours a day? Quit? Most of us can’t afford to do that. Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to combat the risks of sitting at a desk. All you need is 5-10 minutes a few times a day for a total of 30-60 minutes.
Mike Kramer, a SparkPeople contributor, suggests 5 minutes of physical activity for every hour you spend at the computer. Some suggestions he makes in his article include:
- If your office has a staircase, use the bottom step and step up and down (like step aerobics).
- Jumping jacks are a quick and simple way to get you pumped up.
- Take a short brisk walk around your office.
- Use the bathroom on another floor. Use the staircase to get there and back.
- Take two steps back from your desk and lean forward until you are in an angled pushup position against the edge of your desk. You can also use a wall. Do a couple quick sets of incline push-ups.
- Use staplers, tape dispensers, or reams of paper to lift over your head or curl like weights.
- Shadow box in your office for a few minutes. Be careful not to “accidentally” punch someone.
- Replace your chair with a stability ball. This helps you work your core muscles when balancing on the ball.
Want to use your 15 minute break for a workout? SparkPeople has a printable 15-Minute Desk Workout. Or if you prefer, follow along with the video.
Throwing in a few minutes of exercise throughout your day can help to improve your health, increase your energy, creativity, concentration and motivation. What employer would argue with that?