As summer fades, we return to our desks. Longer office hours cut into last season’s exercise routines, college students hit the books, and children trade unlimited play time for less than an hour of recess.
“Sitting Disease,” as some call it, is becoming an epidemic. Recent studies show that sitting in an office or classroom all day could be detrimental to your health. US research shows that sitting less than three hours a day could add up to two years to the average life expectancy. But when your career requires you to be in front of a computer all day, how can you squeeze in more time on your feet? Here are a few ideas to get moving:
Transform Your Commute
Avoid traffic or the crowded train by rethinking your routine. Walking to work or school can reduce your sitting time while serving as a workout. If your office is too far from home, consider taking a bus and hopping off a few stops early. Biking to campus is another alternative with extensive health benefits – and a new route may even save time (and will definitely save gas money!). But if cycling to work seems overwhelming, check out these safety tips and solutions to your cycling concerns. For inspiration, see how a San Francisco family commutes in their “Bicycle Minivan.”
A Mayo Clinic professor of medicine believes that an hour of sitting is too long: “My gut feeling is you should be up for 10 minutes of every hour.” Make time to get up and stretch your legs, even during the most hectic work days. Studies suggest that getting up regularly may even improve productivity. Take a lap around the office after each hour of sitting and stand while catching up with a co-worker. Use part of your lunch break to go for a walk around the block, or pick up lunch from a café further away from work. Just can’t get away? Take a client call on your mobile phone and head outdoors – they’re called mobile phones for a reason!
Work Out at Work
Maybe your employer can’t provide treadmill desks or standing desks, but you can always transform your desk chair into an at-work gym – as long as you can tolerate funny looks from co-workers! These exercises won’t be strenuous enough to substitute an early morning jog or Pilates class, but they provide cumulative benefits. Try these expert-recommended exercises or even some desk yoga to de-stress.
Do you exercise at work or school? Share your tips with us! And don’t forget to track your biking commute routes and lunch-time walks with runtastic!