Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Get Up and Move at the Office

Do you work a desk job?  I do.

If you've read any health article on primarily sedentary lifestyles, you probably know that sitting in a chair all day is basically one of the worst things you can do to your body.  Human bodies were not designed to withstand long periods of sitting down, and the consequences can be very grave, even for those who do physical activity outside of the office.  Scary stuff, right?

It certainly scares me.  Which is why I decided it was time to figure out some ways to make sure I wasn't confined to my desk chair all day. 

Here is how I've gone about it:

#1 - I set an alarm clock to go off every hour at work that tells me to go for a walk.  Rather than using my cell phone alarm, I prefer to use this website because once I set a time (every hour on the hour for example), it gives a pop-up that interrupts whatever I'm currently doing on my computer.  The message yells at me to "Walk it out!" and that's exactly what I do.  I get up from my desk, no matter what I'm doing, and take a lap around my corridor (usually around 100 steps, and barely two minutes).  I then reset the alarm clock to go off again in another hour, and resume what I'm doing.    
#2 - If I need to talk to someone or drop something off, I walk over to their office.  Forget the telephone and inter-office deliveries.  Those are a thing of my recent less-healthy past.  For example, I have a document I have to turn in every two weeks to an office on the other side of my building.  For the longest time, I would just put the document into an inter-office delivery envelope, drop it in my outbox, and forget about it.  Now, I embrace the opportunity to give my legs an excuse to bebop to the other end of my office. 
#3 - I drink a ton of water.  This ensures two things: (A) You'll have to get up to refill your water bottle / cup / mug / vessel of your choosing often. (B) You'll have a fuller bladder, meaning you'll have to get up to use the restroom more.  
#4 - I take advantage of my lunch hour.  I've stated in my previous walking post that I love my lunchtime walks.  They usually last anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes and have had a tremendous effect on my afternoon outlook.  It's relaxing to get out for a bit and get the blood flowing in your legs.  Make it part of your routine, and pretty soon, you'll get to the point where you're as disappointed as I am when it's raining or cruddy outside and the chance of heading out is slim-to-none.
#5 - I make excuses to get up and moving.  I try to make my office habits active as often as possible.  I mentioned in that same past post that I use the copier on the other end of the hall, for example.  There are a million different things you can do:  Send print-outs to the printer on the other end of the hall.  Use a bathroom on a different floor.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Keep limited supplies at your desk so that you have to head over to the supply room often.  All of these little moments add up!  
#6 - I got a really uncomfortable office chair so that I never want to sit in it.  Hahaha, just kidding.

So as you can see, although the dangers of living a sedentary lifestyle are immense and quite easy to succumb to, there are numerous ways to fight it.

Some people even take it a step farther, doing exercises at their work stations, setting up their desks to standing level or on treadmills.  And let's not forget Dwight Schrute's bout with the fitness orb.

If your office offers this kind of flexibility, I greatly encourage you to try these methods out!

But in the meantime, I hope that my little ways for getting up and moving at the office help you all as much as they've helped me.

Your body will thank you, I promise!

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