Get Up and Move Your Way to Better Health
The negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle have been well documented – with the risk of cardiovascular problems doubling when you do not exercise. Obesity, diabetes 2, colon cancer, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, lipid disorders, backaches, anxiety, and even depression can also result from a sedentary lifestyle. Gettingyourself to move about more can have long-lasting, positive effects on your well-being. Here are some thoughts about how to get up and move your way to better health.
Establish a regular form of cardio-vascular exercise. That means doing something energetic that increases your heart rate and works up a sweat. Of course, sports or gym workouts can do this, but there are plenty of other less obvious options for daily exercise. Housework, taking the stairs instead of the lift to go to your flat, or taking your dog for a run can also do the job. Convert your everyday tasks into workouts by putting as much effort as possible into performing them.
If you take public transport to work, why not get off a stop or two before you arrive and walk the final few blocks? Better still, get yourself a bike and cycle to work each day. Make time for exercise as part of your daily routine. Two or three times a week, get up thirty minutes earlier to perform a simple yoga routine or take a short jog, which will put you in a much better stead for the day.
Cardio workouts are important – but not always practical when you are working! There are plenty of exercises you can do while seated at your desk. Rotating your ankles and wrists, swinging your legs, clenching your glutes, and many more can all be performed discreetly while you are sitting. You may take a while to get used to doing it, but will soon find it possible to maintain constant, small repetitive muscle movements throughout the working day.
Aids for desk exercises
Invest in a rocking footrest, which will keep your legs in constant motion as you sit at your desk. Better still, get yourself a saddle chair. Some saddle seats can fit onto your usual work chair, featuring aball bottom that encourages continuous movement tomaintain your balance. With your boss and colleagues, discuss the possibility of installing standing desks or other ergonomic work furniture. Your company may choose to foot the bill and invest in happier, healthier, more productive employees.
Stop sending electronic communications to colleagues whom you could actually get up and walk over to talk to. This small change will get you out of your chair on a regular basis and can even improve your work relationships.
Do not sit at your desk and snack. Take the opportunity to get out of the office and take a walk. In the evenings, prepare yourself a healthy sandwich or lunch so you can easily grab it as you head out in the morning. Find somewhere within reasonable walking distance of your workplace – ideally a park or natural green space – where you can sit and enjoy your lunch. However, even a bench beside the road is better than sitting at your desk.
Encourage your workmates to join you in your quest to move more. Get them involved in sports activities like charity runs on the weekends. Ask your boss if you could use a small unoccupied space for team stretching exercises every couple of hours. These short periods of time spent in movement can really make a difference to your health and the productivity of your team.
Harper Reid is a freelance writer from Auckland, New Zealand who is passionate about fitness and healthy living. On her days off, she enjoys running at the beach, hitting the gym or hiking with friends. You can find more of her work on Tumblr.