Whether you’re still working from home, or your work days have shifted back to the office, for many of us, a majority of our day is spent looking at a screen, sitting down. If you’re a bit of a research nerd like we are, maybe you know some of the statistics when it comes to excessive sitting and one’s overall health. Some of the more minimal, yet still aggravating risks include back and neck issues while more extreme risks include things like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. And while there might not be a way around “desk work,” there are some ways to seamlessly add in more movement throughout your day.
Get a Standing Desk
Having a standing desk makes it easy to incorporate movement into your workday. Remind yourself to switch positions by setting alarms on your phone and keeping consistent goals to try and stand for 30 minute blocks during the day. When you are on your feet, keep yourself loose by changing positions. Put one foot up on an overturned garbage can, or try standing on a shiatsu mat or tennis balls. This can help stimulate the nerves in your feet and relax sore muscles.
Movement doesn’t always have to be big and grand to have a positive effect on the body. A calf raise for example, is an exercise you can perform almost anywhere that doesn’t attract a lot of attention. A calf raise is simply lifting your heels up from the ground and putting them back down again–think going on your ‘tippy toes’. You can do these at your desk, brushing your teeth, cooking, or watching TV. When it comes to movement, even the little things go a long way.
Park in the Back of the Parking Lot
Did you know that on average, we should be taking at least 10,000 steps per day? That number may seem intimidating at first, but some simple changes to your routine, like parking at the far end of the parking lot or taking the stairs, make this goal much more attainable. Whether it’s at work or the grocery store, you can easily get an extra 100 steps in by parking a few spots farther than normal.
Stand While Folding Laundry
Ah laundry, the never ending chore. Take a different approach to your laundry routine and use it as an excuse to gain some extra movement. The amount of time it takes you to fold your laundry can be significant (especially the loads consisting of the entire week's wardrobe). Talk to a family member or watch TV while you make sure your creases are tight and wrinkles are withdrawn. Use this time to benefit your body (and your clothing) by folding laundry on your feet.
Take the Stairs
Try taking the stairs versus the elevator whenever you can. If you need to build up your stair strength, try climbing only a quarter of the flights you need and take the elevator the rest of the way. This will help you gradually work your way up a new flight each week. Eventually, those stairs will know who’s boss.
Use a Fitness Tracker
While a fitness tracker isn’t a necessity by any means, studies have shown that the real-time feedback a tracker provides can motivate an individual to reach step goals, or make changes to their routine to accommodate more movement. According to Start Standing, having a fitness tracker that measures calories burned, steps taken, or any other measure of your activity, influences your subconscious and conscious mind to move more.
Use a Grip Strengthener
Get creative with how you bring more movement into your life and try a grip strengthener. Similar to the calf raises, a grip strengthener provides movement that is subtle and mindless making it easy to incorporate into your routine. Use it during a Zoom meeting, while talking on the phone, or sitting at a red light. Store one at the office, in your car and at home to give yourself the opportunity to add in extra movement wherever you are.
Move at Every Commercial Break
Even when your answer to Netflix is “Yes, I’m still watching,” take a break from your binge and move around on every commercial break or in between episodes. Take a minute to stretch or make a healthy snack before sitting back down on the couch. Your body will thank you not only for the snack you made, but the extra steps you took to get it.
Go For a Walk
For some, a walk may very well be the daily commute to the office. For others, it may be the time of day when the four-legged family member gets their own exercise. Needless to say, simply going for a walk not only adds in more movement to your day but allows for a mental reset as well. Pop in a new podcast episode or your favorite tracks and head out for as far of a distance (or as short), as you’d like.