5 Ways to Get Active During the Work Day
Our bodies rely on regular movement to keep happy and healthy, but our current lifestyles are actively preventing this from happening. According to the British Heart Foundation, the average adult in the UK spends for over 9 hours a day in a sedentary state (mainly sitting down)! This is a problem for many reasons because sedentary lifestyles cause the cardiovascular system to deteriorate; muscles, bones and joints to become weak; the lymphatic system to clog up; brain function to decline; metabolism to slow down, immune system to stop working and hormones to get out of whack.
Remember when we say movement, we don’t necessarily mean intense exercise. Exercise is fantastic for combating sedentary lifestyles, but regular and varied movement is just as important for health, which is often overlooked. So, what can we do about this rather important health problem? We’ve come up with 5 ways to get you moving during your workday, whether you’re working from home or in the office.
1. Introduce “Movement Snacks”
Think of movement snacks as small bouts of movement exploration dispersed throughout the day. These small snacks can significantly accumulate over time. Imagine waves crashing into rocks, one wave seems insignificant, but many waves over a long period of time can erode whole coastlines!
This can be any type of movement you like, bodyweight exercises, a stretch/mobility flow or simply a walk around the office/block. These movement snacks should last 5-15mins and try to repeat them whenever you find time throughout the day.
Top Trainer Tip - Use a “non-movement alert” (which are widely available on smartphones/watches) OR identify an object in your office or house to use as a cue to initiate your movement snack.
2. Monitor Your Daily Step Count
Most smartphones/watches can monitor step count and stairs climbed throughout the day. Some will even be able to calculate your energy expenditure (although the accuracy of these is somewhat up for debate). But let’s keep things simple for now, just monitor your daily step count and aim to increase this number week by week.
Top Trainer Tip - Although “10,000 steps” is the gold standard target for daily step count, think more about incremental improvements towards this number instead of having to hit it every day. Also, take weekly averages and try to identify trends to gain deeper insight into your movement habits.
3. Go Out for a Walk
If there’s one highly underrated form of exercise for a healthy body and mind, it’s going on a walk. Identify a nice outdoor area (such as a park or a river) and head out for 30mins or so. If you’re having a one on one meeting, or a phone call which doesn’t require your laptop and lots of note-taking, take the meetings out of the office. Simply grab a coffee, walk and talk. Enjoy the fresh air and natural sunlight.
Top Trainer Tip - Have a comfortable pair of trainers available at all times, just in case you find the time to head outside.
4. Adjustable Desks
We encourage adjustable desks, which allow you to both sit and stand whilst working. We don’t believe that any posture is inherently “bad”, but we do want to avoid being stuck in the same position for long periods. Having the option to stand and sit whilst working is hugely beneficial for movement variation, gets the blood and lymphatic circulation going, strengthens different muscle groups and reduces tension building in the same areas.
Top Trainer Tip - Why not try some stretches and exercises you can do using your desk and chair in between meetings, projects or phone calls?
5. Make your Commute More Active
We’ve already mentioned in our article on healthy habits that hooking new habits onto existing routines is an effective and simple way of creating positive lifestyle changes. Your daily commute (if you still have one!) is an amazing opportunity to accumulate lots of movement and activity. Here are a few ways you can do this:
Change your mode of transport. Instead of driving or taking the bus, why not walk or cycle to work? This has the added advantage of reducing your carbon footprint.
If you live too far from your office to ditch the locomotive, then why not introduce a short walk at either end? You could park further away than usual or get off the bus or tube a few stops before your nearest station.
Working from home? Use the time you’d usually be spending on your commute to do something active. Join an online exercise/yoga class or go for a walk around your local park and enjoy the sunrise.
Top Trainer Tip - To make your commute activity more enjoyable, why not listen to that podcast, audiobook or album you’ve been thinking about recently?