In the last few years more and more studies have been coming out that attest to the detrimental health effects of sitting too much. Collectively, we sit all day at computers, we commute, hunch over our phones and watch too much TV. So what can we do about it? Well, luckily, it’s actually very simple to add extra activity to you day. Try incorporating these easy tips for how to sit less and move more and you’ll be surprised at how it all adds up!
How to Sit Less and Move More
1. Set the alarm.
If you work at a desk for the majority of the day, the easiest way to remind yourself to move is to set an alarm to go off every hour. When it goes off, stand up, reach your arms over head, stretch side to side, twist, touch your toes, make circles with your ankles, walk around the office, taking about a 5 minute break in total. That’s enough time to get your circulation going and offset the last hour of sitting.
Try this quick stretching routine you can do right at your desk! The Ultimate Deskercise Stretch Routine.
2. Do it first thing.
Even if it just means getting up 10 minutes earlier, exercising first thing in the morning can have a positive effect on your whole day. If you can make it 30-60 minutes, even better! Start small and build it up if necessary. Starting the day on a healthy note will set you up to make healthier choices all day long. There are some great at-home options for yoga such as Yogaglo and My Yoga Online that allow you do follow yoga classes in the comfort of your living room. Pyjama yoga anyone?
3. Exercise at lunch.
Getting your heart pumping mid-day can do wonders for your energy level, productivity and general well-being. Try going for a power walk outside, or heading to a nearby gym to hit the treadmill or attend a group fitness class. I typically workout before work then walk for 30 minutes or do a quick yoga session on my lunch break, anything I can do to move more during the day! I always eat while I’m working so I have time to get up and move at lunch. After 30 minutes away from my desk, I’m re-focused and ready to take on the afternoon of work.
4. Don’t just sit there.
If you have time to watch TV, you most definitely have time to exercise. If you absolutely can’t miss your favourite show, then make it a workout! During each commercial break, try doing some squats, lunges, sit- ups and push-ups. If you’ve already had your workout for the day, then make TV time your stretching session. I almost always stretch when I watch TV, I love it! If you work in an office environment or have a long commute, make sure you spend time stretching your hip flexors, chest, calves and hamstrings. These are ares of the body are commonly tight in office workers, so give them some extra love.
Here are a few great stretches to start with: Stretches All Desk Workers Should Do Today
5. It all adds up.
Here’s where you might think I’m a little weird. I do 20 squats every time I go to the washroom during the day. Now you know! I take this “always keep moving” business very seriously. First of all, we’re all aging and the older we get the more we need to do to stay in shape. Secondly, I work at a desk for 8-9 hours a day and commute almost 2 hours a day. I plan on doing everything I can to help counteract that time spent in a position we’re not supposed to spend that much time in. I also do calve raises while I’m cooking, brushing my teeth or even seated at my desk. And then there’s that whole park further away thing. You should do that to.
6. Dance in the kitchen.
My weirdness is coming through again, but while I’m cooking I like to throw on some tunes and dance up a storm while I’m chopping, stirring and blending. Try it, it just might make you smile and I guarantee it will get your heart pumping.
7. Always take the stairs.
You’ve never heard that one before right?! Again, this is for office workers. If you’re a waitress, nurse, construction worker, or otherwise active in your work, then you can probably use that elevator. My chair-bound butt however, it’s up the stairs I go!
8. On the weekend, move, move, move!
Make up for lost time with long walks, a yoga class, playing with your kids, hiking, hitting the gym or doing whatever else you enjoy. By the time the weekend rolls around I’m usually dying to move like crazy! I love to take the dogs for an extra long walk, enjoy a long workout, and explore the city with my husband.
9. Workout while you’re driving.
That sound safe right?! What I mean is, pull your belly button into your spine and hold it for 30 seconds, or for the length of a song on the radio or a red light. Release and repeat. You can also try clenching your glutes holding for 2 seconds, repeating for 4 sets of 50-100. Laugh now if you want, but it works! Try to sit tall, with your shoulders back in your seat and your chin pulled back. Driving is terrible for our posture so it’s important to do what you can to work on those bad postural habits, all while keeping two hands on the wheel.
10. Go for an after dinner walk.
I have two dogs, so I don’t really have choice in the matter with this one! However, I do believe it’s one of the healthiest habits you can have. It doesn’t have to be long, even 20 minutes is fantastic! Not only does it get me moving before I relax for the night, but once I’m out the door I forget about that craving I had for something sweet, salty, crunchy and perfect for eating in front of the TV. It’s also a great time to catch up with my husband, talk about our days and just enjoy some time outside.
11. Stand up or walk around when you’re on the phone.
Easy. If you have to make a phone call, stand up! Or take it on your cell phone and go for quick walk. It’s these small habits that make a really big difference!