Health Strategies for Sit-Down Jobs

guy hunched over at deskThe perils of a sedentary work habits are numerous. From a shorter lifespan to increased risk of diabetes, spending too much time in a chair can be a real detriment—even with regular workouts and healthy eating.

For many Americans, their workday consists of spending an average of 5 hours and 41 minutes sitting at a desk. Even if you have the energy to head to the gym or pop in a Pilates DVD after work, sitting down for any prolonged period of time is inherently unhealthy.

Unfortunately your rigorous workout routine won’t cancel out a day of sitting on your rear end.

Staying healthy and having a sit-down job doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. Changing a couple of your habits and tossing in a few new ones could do a lot for your health, and your happiness in the workplace.

The following strategies will show you how to work more physical activity into your workday—even when you’re stationed at a desk:

Use Standing Desks

Standing desks are hardly a modern marvel, but they aren’t all that popular unless you’re a dead writer or poet. Lately however, they’ve been making a comeback. Standing desks let desk jockeys drastically cut back on the amount of sitting they do.

A standing desk is more of a permanent workplace solution, but standing for just 20 minutes here and there is a good start to better habits. Ask your company if they’ll invest in a standing desk for you—some are happy to accommodate you with a note from a doctor.

Hold Standing Meetings

Stand up for shorter meetings! Holding your meetings or even phone calls while standing gives you a break from the monotony of sitting all day, and it may cut back on the length of your meeting, too.

Take the Stairs

Keeping with the “standing” theme, walking up the stairs and foregoing the elevator is an easy way to work in a bit of exercise into your day at the office.

Walk, Don’t Email

Instead of emailing or calling a coworker take a walk to their desk or office. You’ll get in some exercise and you’ll get to enjoy some face time with a living person—as opposed to your computer screen.

Stretch at Your Desk

Not all stretching needs to be done on a Yoga mat. Just by shrugging your shoulders, stretching your arms, giving yourself a bear hug, or doing leg extensions—at your desk—you can give your body a break.

Stretching keeps you limber, but more important it helps to ease tension and strain in your muscles and joints.

Mind Your Posture and Ergonomics

By keeping your back straight and your feet planted on the floor you can do a lot to ensure continued health, especially while working a desk job. Same goes for your hands and wrists. You can use wrist cushions or pads to keep your hands natural and comfortable while using the keyboard and mouse.

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