Sit And Stay Healthy: 5 Ways To Keep Your Desk Job Without Ruining Your Health

Businesswoman standing and waving in office
Curb the negative effects of sitting, and adopt these healthy habits — from using a stool, or exercise ball to sit to taking a real lunch break — to stay in shape, and boost energy. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Whether you’re an outdoor tomato, or a couch potato, it is highly probable a sedentary desk job will bind you to your chair for the majority of an eight-hour shift. You sit while commuting, while on the computer, at meetings, and then you look forward to go home and you guessed it — sit down and relax, spending an average sitting time of 9.3 hours. Sitting for long periods of time can contribute to several life-threatening health risks including metabolic syndrome, heart attack, stroke, and overall death.

When you sit for hours on end, you constrict your circulation, slow down your metabolism, and even “power off” your body. This can make you unhealthier, less fit, and more likely to interfere with metabolic processes. To curb the negative effects of sitting, while still keeping your desk job, adopt these five healthy habits to stay in shape, and boost your energy.

1. Use A Stool Or An Exercise Ball To Sit

An office chair with back support may bring comfort to your buttocks, and back, but it could also encourage you to adopt an unhealthy posture. Using a stool, or a yoga ball, will actually force you to sit upright, and not be dependent on back support. A 2007 study published in the journal Diabetes found the most calorie burning occurs throughout the day, as oppose to when you work out after work. Brief, and frequent muscular contraction during the day could help curb the risk of metabolic disease. A exercise ball could help work out your abdominals, and back muscles while improving your balance.

2. Standing Desk

While the literature of the dangerous of sitting continues to grow, so do the benefits of standing desks. Incorporating standing, pacing, and physical activity into your day could be achieved by standing at your desk for a few hours a day. Activities like standing in line, walking to work, and doing house chores can add up to a number of calories burned throughout the day. This is especially useful since a 2011 study presented at the American Institute for Cancer Research found prolonged sitting could be responsible for as much as 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer per year in the U.S.

3. Deskercise

Discreet desk exercises can help keep you active, and in shape while meeting your work deadlines. You can “go for a run” at your desk by just staying in place. Derith Cass, a personal trainer at the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa in Houston, Texas, previously told Medical Daily, in several intervals of 45 seconds of work, followed by 15 seconds of rest, while seated, you can lift your feet up and down as though you were running, and pump your arms at the same time. This will get your heart rate up and even help you burn some calories.

4. Take A Real Lunch Break

Lunch breaks are starting to become shorter and shorter, and even close to nonexistent. A 2012 survey by Right Management, a workplace consulting group, found only one in five office workers reports taking an actual lunch break away from their desk. Taking a break, even for 15 to 20 minutes, not sitting at your desk, can help boost concentration and energy levels throughout the day. Never taking a break can actually reduce your ability to be creative.

5. Take Short Walks

A walking routine can help trim your waistline, reverse the negative effects of sitting, and improve your overall health. A recent study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found three easy, and even slow five-minute walks can actually reverse the harm caused to leg arteries during three hours of continuous fitness. There was a large drop in artery dilation compared to the baseline or original readings by 50 percent. The shear rate of blood flow also dropped.

Adopt these five healthy habits to curb the negative effects of sitting. 

Loading...
Join the Discussion