How To Get More Movement at Work
We spend most of our time these days sitting. Sitting in our cars, sitting by our desks, sitting and watching a movie; we just move less and sit more. We live a life of convenience that has allowed us to not expend as much energy as we used to, which means that we're not using our muscles or increasing our heart rates for a prolonged period. Some say that sitting is the new smoking, but it really is this "sedentary lifestyle" that is impacting our health. With sedentary behaviour being a norm in our society, we need to actually make an effort to incorporate movement into our day.
Recent stats show we spend about 70% or more of our waking hours sitting and this low energy expenditure on a daily basis contributes to many chronic diseases and conditions that are on the rise. When we have low energy expenditure, our metabolism is decreasing, we're impairing the body's ability to control blood sugar levels, regulate blood pressure and break down fat. We don't need to be huffing and puffing, running a marathon or doing heavy weightlifting; small movements count. Exercise isn't all or nothing and we can incorporate small amounts of moderate exercise into our daily lives quite easily, which can have a huge positive impact on our health. Don't let the idea of high intensity activity prevent you from getting in movement throughout the day. If you'd like to incorporate more movement into your day, check out these tips below.
How To Get More Movement at Work:
1. Take active breaks- Taking short breaks to walk goes a long way since little moments of movement add up and can have a healthy impact on your life. Take an active break every 60 to 90 minutes. These active breaks can be used to walk, stretch or actually do some exercise. You can also turn your coffee break into a walking break. Rather than standing in line to order and waiting for your coffee to be made, order your coffee ahead of time (using an app like Ritual, McDonald's or Tim Hortons) and turn your 10 minute break into a stroll instead. Or if you're working from home, do a few stretches or a light exercise routine while you wait for your coffee to brew.
2. Maximize Lunch Breaks- A 30 minute or 1 hour lunch break is a golden opportunity to get some movement in. Whether you're working from home or the office, look around to see if there are any gyms, yoga studios, kickboxing or bootcamp classes that you can take advantage of. Getting in at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per day is essential to ensure you're living a healthy lifestyle. Having a place to go to during lunch and even having coworkers or friends join in with you can help keep you motivated and help you stay on track to achieving your health goals.
3. Use the stairs- Change happens one step at a time. Stair climbing improves cardiovascular fitness, promotes weight loss, improves muscle tone and bone density. Not only is it a great physical activity but ditching the elevator is a very green initiative since one round trip of an elevator per person utilizes the same amount of energy as a desktop computer and monitor for 30 minutes. So using the stairs is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and stay active. If you're heading into the office, bring a pair of comfortable shoes and take the stairs at every opportunity. You can do the same thing if you live in an apartment or condo and work from home, or find some good walking routes that can get your heart pumping in your neighbourhood. Remember, it's all about sneaking in those little moments of movement to combat the sedentary lifestyle.
4. Office Challenges- Some companies do physical activity challenges to help engage and encourage their employees to stay physically active. This can be a steps challenge, a 30-minute movement challenge, a pushup challenge etc. Having an office challenge not only engages employees in friendly competition and adds to company culture but it is also a great way to encourage and motivate everyone to achieve their personal health goals. If this is something you want to start at your office but don't know where to begin, contact us and ask how we can help create a customized office challenge for you.
5. Walking meetings- Rather than waiting for meeting rooms to be free or sitting through hours of zoom calls, try scheduling a walking meeting with your colleagues instead. Meetings don't always require a laptop, coffee and donuts and a big boardroom. Having a walk-and-talk is a creative way to incorporate movement into your day and also be productive at the same time.
Hectic work schedules and a sedentary lifestyle can wreak havoc on your health. Be a wellness champion in your office and encourage your colleagues and senior leadership to start more wellness-focused initiatives!