Worldwide, having a 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. desk job is an inevitable part of the average adult’s life. A 20-year study from Cambridge University found that the sedentary lifestyle of an office worker often correlates with poor health, sometimes leading to early death.
Living a sedentary lifestyle puts a person at higher risk for conditions like cancer, type II diabetes, heart disease, dementia and stroke.
It’s recommended that an adult exercise for 150 minutes per week, but even taking small steps toward a more active lifestyle can pay off in the end. For example, just 15 minutes of moderate activity can provide significant cognitive boost. Long-term benefits of regular physical activity include weight loss, better sleep, improved mood and a more well-functioning immune system.
Oftentimes, a person working 40 hours per week doesn’t feel there’s enough time in the day for regular exercise. This is especially true when family obligations and other activities are part of the mix. Finding time for physical activity doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s all about using your time wisely.
Many people are guilty of using their lunch break to sit around and relax after eating. Instead, it would be more beneficial to get your blood pumping with that extra time. Take a brisk walk, do a few yoga poses or spend some time in a nearby gym. You may be surprised how some mid-day exercise can make your typical afternoon slump a thing of the past.
Stretch It Out
It’s recommended that a person spend 5-10 minutes standing, walking or stretching for every hour they work. This is much healthier than sitting in the same position for hours on end. If your office provides adjustable desks, make it a point to stand at your desk regularly. Otherwise, take a walk to the water cooler or do some light movement at your desk each hour.
Diversify Your Commute
If you drive to work and take the elevator to your floor, there is so much potential for improvement. For example, you could park further away from the building, then take the stairs instead of the elevator. An extra 5 minutes of walking does add up as the weeks go on. If possible, consider walking or biking to work instead.
Challenge the Norms
More often, we’re seeing companies put a higher priority on their employees’ health and wellness. This often includes in-office fitness centers or discounts to local gyms. Some employers go above and beyond by bringing a fitness professional to the office weekly to host an optional class for their workers. This is justified because physical activity during work hours has been shown to boost concentration, leading to greater overall productivity.
Regardless of where you work, don’t let your health fall to the wayside. You only get one body, so treat it right by staying active when the opportunity arises.