Could sitting be the new smoking? Well, with the steadily increasing rate of obesity and sedentary jobs along with sedentary lifestyles, this comparison is unfortunately quite fitting. We are all so busy throughout the week as we sit or lay down more hours in a day than we do standing or moving. In spite of working at a desk job, we can still find ways to stay healthy and get moving during the work-day. We commonly remind our patients that being healthy at work doesn't have to be expensive or strenuous, but it does often require pre-planning. Stand more than you sit because we know that the average person can burn up to 50 more calories in an hour standing versus sitting. Some of the most effective yet simple tips that I give my patients are the following:
Set your cell phone alarm for four separate times, i.e. 8am, 10am 12pm, 2pm, & 4pm as a reminder to pause and stand up to stretch upper and lower extremities, drink 8 ounces of water and 60 seconds of high-knees. This will take the average person 2-5 min. to complete. So, it's a small amount of time but a big impact throughout your work day. It provides hydration, cardiovascular conditioning, improves flexibility, improves blood flow to the brain, hence can improve energy and focus.
I also love inflatable exercise balls as chairs in the home or workplace office, because you must activate your core to maintain correct posture, and studies show that one can burn a approximately 6% more calories sitting on exercise balls compared to sitting in a regular chair.
Pedometers in the work place are also great, because you can march in place sitting or standing and burn up to 100 more calories per day. For a bit more intensity you can perform rapid high-knees in place. Pedometer wearers tend to burn more calories per day compared to non-pedometer wearers according to a Stanford University study, and this is likely because they tend to set and record their daily step goals and it can provide incentive and motivation to keep improving the number of steps per day.