We all know some jobs are inherently dangerous, but we don’t often include the sedentary, desk-bound ones on that list.
These positions don’t require us to run into burning buildings or assemble new walls four stories above the ground, yet they do pose hazards to our health by discouraging us from getting the physical activity we need to keep our hearts pumping, blood circulating and lungs expanding.
In study after study, people who sit while they do their jobs are reported to be at higher risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and some forms of cancer — even if they stay active when they’re not on the clock.
It may seem close to impossible to stay on your feet while you’re being paid to write words or code or anything else, but it’s easier than ever as more people work remotely and employers become more accommodating, so start looking for opportunities to:
- Take movement breaks every 30 minutes, even if you can only squeeze in two or three minutes of walking around or stretching. Even intervals as short as these have been proven to make a significant impact on blood pressure, blood sugar levels and other important markers of health.
- Get on your feet during every phone call that you’re able to by walking down the hall or block or pacing behind or in front of your desk. Any such movement will lighten your mood and help your brain work faster as you converse and brainstorm. Using a headset while making and taking calls is much better for your posture.
- Find a “work workout buddy,” someone who shares your interest in ratcheting up physical activity in a job that doesn’t rely on it. This can be someone in the same office or on the other side of the country, as long as you both commit to providing accountability and support for the other.
- Keep light weights, resistance bands and related equipment on your desk and use them regularly. Getting cardio in at work can be hard but strength training is much easier!