July 17, 2017
Ever notice that when you are at work you get so wrapped up in what it is you are doing that you haven’t moved, sometimes for hours on end? It’s easy to forget to get up, move around, stretch or take mental breaks when you are focusing on your work. Maybe you don’t even realize the importance of doing this! Continuing this unhealthy pattern for days, you may start to get tension headaches, have chronic back pain, experience carpal tunnel, suffer from a mid-day slump and/or have trouble sleeping at night.
Maybe the side effects are not as pronounced, but whether you realize it or not, the effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time can have very negative effects on the body. According to Men’s Journal magazine in an article written by Lisa Marshall titled “Sitting: The Most Unhealthy Thing You Can Do.”, several health dangers were associated with sitting at length. Those dangers include slower blood flow (resulting in clumping of red blood cells in the legs); up to a 20% drop in “good” cholesterol; heart disease risk of up to two and half times greater than average; a rise in chronic inflammation; and a doubling of the risk of diabetes.
We know what you might be thinking, this doesn’t apply to you because you are in impeccable physical condition and you exercise every day. You might even be a marathon runner, a yoga teacher or a fitness trainer. Still, if you are sitting for long periods each day without getting up and including some level of activity between sits, you are putting yourself are at risk no matter how much you exercise earlier or later in the day.
You may have noticed the increased trend of stand up desks or that your iWatch (or other activity tracker) came equipped with an Activity app that includes a “stand ring” which shows the hours in which you’ve stood up and moved for at least a minute at a time. It also alerts you when you should be standing and gives you your daily “stand” goals to achieve. Items like these have gained in popularity as more studies have shown how imperative it is to our health to avoid stagnancy for lengthy periods of time.
The goal is to figure out non-intrusive ways to achieve bringing intervals of activity into your work day. The results you will see are increases in productivity, focus, concentration, ability to make better decisions, reduced stress levels, a boost of energy, better time management and improved mental sharpness AND help you avoid all the health dangers associated with a sedentary lifestyle. The benefits will make the efforts well worth it! The below suggestions will vary for everyone depending on what you do and the flexibility in your schedule. It is also important to note that these options may not work out every day, particularly if you have a very swamped work week or are traveling, etc.
One suggestion is to bring your Pogamat (check our newest lightweight version for a more portable option!) to work with you. This way you can stretch and fit mini workout sessions in throughout the day. Try setting a timer on your phone or an app that will send you reminders to get you moving at least once every hour. The bonus to bringing your gear with you to work is that you can head right to the gym on your way home from work. This avoids the temptation to skip a workout because if you have to stop home to get changed and get your gear, you are more likely to find yourself napping in that nice comfy-looking bed or lounging in front of the television.
If you choose to perform one of these exercises each time your alarm goes off during your work day, you will begin to feel the positive effects within a month! All it takes is being mindful of the movement in your day and it could help improve immediate pains and prevent major health conditions down the road!
What are some of the exercises, stretches or tips you implement to stay active during your workday?!
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