In the U.S., there are over 750,00 office workers. With about one-fourth of Americans sitting behind a desk, it is no surprise that more Americans are leading a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for eight hours daily may sound contrary to an active lifestyle, but fortunately, you can stay active despite your desk job.
The Consequences of a Sedentary Lifestyle
You may develop negative consequences if you aren't staying active in the office. Sitting isn't bad for you, but if you sit down for long periods, your body will feel it. When you sit, your blood circulates at a slower rate than usual. As the blood slows, fatty acids can build up in your arteries. Likewise, your body doesn't break down fat the way it does when you're moving around. Sitting slows down the production of an enzyme responsible for breaking down fats. The more often you sit, the more likely you are to store fat on your body.
Adding more activity to your workday can prevent some of the negative consequences of office jobs.
The Realities of Working Behind a Desk
If you work behind a desk, there are limited options to remain active. After all, most people need the opportunity to get up and leave the office throughout the day to ensure they get enough steps in. The good news is that you don't have to leave your office to exercise.
Engage in Short Workouts
Most office workers can benefit from short workouts throughout the day. Spending five to ten minutes during the workday may reduce mid-afternoon fatigue. To start working out behind the desk, consider your room and the tools available to you.
For example, if you have a swiveling chair, hold your hands on the edge of your desk and spin yourself as far as you can and switch to the other side for about 10 repetitions. If you have a stationary chair without wheels, perform tricep dips for about 10 repetitions.
Stand More Often
Find reasons to stand as often as possible. Consider a standing desk that allows you to elevate your desk while working. Many people find that standing while they work can increase productivity and focus. If you do not have a standing desk, find reasons to stand as often as possible. Make yourself a cup of coffee or use the restroom when you have a moment. You can also suggest walk-and-talk meetings with colleagues, clients and supervisors.
Stretch when you are at your desk. Take 30 seconds to stand up, place a hand on your elbow and pull your arm across your chest. You can do various stretches while sitting or standing next to your desk. Stretching can take as little as several seconds or as much as a few minutes.
The Opportunities Before and After Work
If you find working out at the office challenging, you can make up for it before and after work. Consider using your morning commute as a way to be more physical. If you take public transit to work, consider getting off the bus a few stops early so that you can walk into work. Likewise, if you live close enough, consider cycling to work daily instead of using your car.
While you might be tempted to relax on the couch after a long day of work, try to put off relaxing until after you engage in physical activity. You don't have to go to the gym for two hours every night or run several miles to be more active. If you want a more intense workout, you can, but you can also take advantage of a 30-minute walk around dinner time or engage in an at-home activity before you relax for the night.
Become More Active Despite Your Office Job
If you have to sit behind a desk for several hours, it doesn't mean you have to live a sedentary lifestyle. The more you sit down throughout the day, the more your body will want to remain seated. Sitting behind a desk can be exhausting, but there are ways you can sprinkle physical activity throughout your day so you can avoid falling into a sedentary way of living.