How to stay active in the workplace

Since the 1950s, our workforce has increasingly moved from physically active jobs to sedentary jobs. Many of us work in places where we’re sitting in front of a computer or desk for 8 hours a day, which can have significant health drawbacks if we don’t address them. A moving body is a healthy body, we should be mindful of how much each day we’re prioritizing that movement.

The downsides of sitting down

Studies suggest that sitting for more than 8 hours a day with no physical activity comes with similar risks of dying as obesity and smoking. Since many jobs are office jobs, these workers are often spending ~15 hours a day sitting—nearly twice the recommended healthy amount. Here’s some things that excessive periods of inactivity can lead to:

  • Offsets the health benefits of exercise.
  • Increases risk of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
  • Sedentary lifestyles are linked to muscle, tendon, ligament, neck, and back problems.
  • Poor posture, compression of spinal disks, and increased risk of herniated disks.
  • Long periods of sitting can lead to various issues in the glutes, legs, and even bones, including conditions like deep vein thrombosis and osteoporosis.

It can sound scary, but maintaining some sort of movement once an hour can help offset the effects of sitting and keep your body in motion.

How to keep active in the workplace

Keeping active in the workplace is not as hard as it seems, and just takes a bit of conscious thought to implement. Here’s a few ways that you can prioritize your health while sitting for long periods of time:

  • Every 10 minutes or so, do a posture check. Are you sitting up straight? Relax your muscles and joints so you can straighten out. A chair with lumbar support or a chair cushion with tailbone support can help you maintain this good posture.
  • Every 60 minutes, take a stretch break. Stand up and touch your toes, or bend your knees into a few squats. This keeps your muscles moving and alleviates the tension you accumulate while sitting.
  • Take short walking breaks. If you’re able, spend 3-4 minutes just walking a bit—either around the office, or to the bathroom/water station. It keeps the blood flowing and decompresses your spine and muscles.
  • Work standing up. If you have a standing desk, or can find somewhere to prop your computer, working while standing keeps your body flowing but also doesn’t put strain on your hips and joints from sitting all day.
  • Walk over to a coworker to talk instead of emailing. This might be 30 seconds of walking, but it makes a difference. If you’re able, opt for an in-person conversation over an email thread, to get some steps in and save you both time communicating.

Even doing just one of these tips can make a difference and turn your body from sedentary into active. When you’re consistently spending 8+ hours in a chair, those effects can add up over time. Prioritize your body today and make a difference for your health!

Thank you for reading “Piece of Mind”! If you liked this post, share it with a friend and help us increase our positive impact on Gen-Z mental health 🙂

Subscribe to receive blog updates!

Subscribe to receive blog updates!

    Kyla Dang
    Latest posts by Kyla Dang (see all)