As mentioned in an earlier post on how too much sitting can hurt you, movement is an important part of your health. Because our work often calls for it, people in the U.S. spend most of their day sitting at a desk, staring at a screen. This is bad news for office workers. In addition to more common office ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome, too much sitting combined with repetitive tasks such as answering the phone and typing is a recipe for stiffness in the arms, legs, shoulders, and back.

There is hope: even in an office setting, there are simple ways to incorporate movement and stretching into your day.

Take the long way.

Park in the farthest space from the door. Take the stairs, not the elevator. Use the bathroom farthest from your desk.

Stand up.

Whenever your phone rings, take the call standing up. In fact, stand up at least every 20 minutes and remain standing for another five. Walk in place or do a couple of lunges.

Take a real break. 

During lunch or any time you have a spare minute or two, walk outside and get some fresh air. Walk around your building.

Opt out of convenience.

Go visit your coworkers in person instead of texting or emailing. Get out of your car instead of going through the drive-through. Take the long way to the office kitchen or water cooler.

Get into a routine.

Set an alarm on your phone for every hour and take five minutes to go through this simple routine:

  • Stand up and sit down without using your hands
  • Shrug your shoulders up to your ears the drop them all the way down
  • Circle your arms forward and back
  • “Hug” yourself with your arms for a shoulder blade stretch
  • Twist your torso to one side then the other
  • Stretch your arms high up over your head
  • Do five lunges or five squats (or both) 

Movement doesn’t have to mean an hour-long break in the middle of the day or a trip to the gym. You can improve your energy level by making just a few simple changes to your daily routine.

What are other ways you can incorporate movement into your work today?

Image by Alex via Flickr

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