By now we've all read the news on how sitting at a desk all day can prove to be lethal. And while the findings are scary, the silver lining is that small movements and bouts of activity can help offset the effects of a sedentary job. Aside from this recent study, it's important to stay as active as we can in our daily lives. Ensure you're up and moving during the workday with these five simple tips!
Is working at a desk all day long leading you to pack on the pounds? Burn some calories while you type by turning your treadmill into a walking work station. If you have the money to spend, you can buy a desk that's specifically designed to work with a treadmill, but they can be pretty pricey. If you want to save some dough, all it takes is a little creativity to transform your treadmill into a desk. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Create a desktop by attaching a flat, nonslip surface like an ironing board (as illustrated above) to the the top of the treadmill. Use twine or rope to safely and securely attach the desktop to the top of the treadmill armrests so there's no risk of it falling off while you walk or type. Make sure this desktop is wide enough to hold your laptop or keyboard and your mouse.
- Be sure no cords are dangling down creating potential tripping hazards or that could be caught on your swinging arms.
- Keep objects off the desktop that could potentially fall from the vibrations the treadmill creates such as your phone, the remote control, your iPod, or pens.
- Try out the treadmill at 0 mph first. Yep. Test out the desk standing before you start typing on a moving belt.
- Start off slow and for short amounts of time. As you get used to walking while working, you can increase the speed and distance.
Would you use a treadmill walk station?
When I'm working at my computer all day, I can feel the tension building up in my neck and shoulders. Throughout the day, I try to remember to take breaks to get up and walk around, but this seated neck stretch really does wonders.
For details on how to feel this delicious neck release, and ways to feel a deeper stretch, read more
Stressed and sedentary? Even if you're chained to your desk, you can still fit in some yoga using these eight poses Fila yoga ambassador Kristin McGee has modified for the desk-bound worker bee. Moving throughout the day is an important part of beating stress, and stretching always makes my mind more alert. Try these poses on for size and feel the tension melt away. Clear your work space so you can clear your mind, and let Kristin lead you through this series.
Photos courtesy of Fila
Constantly hovering over your keyboard, with your shoulders hunched over not only contributes to terrible posture, but can be a real pain in the neck and back. I know this stretch looks a little provocative and is reminiscent of FlashDance, but it is the antidote to a day of blogging.
- Sit on the edge of your chair. Reach your hands behind you and hold on to the back of the chair.
- Inhale and press your chest forward, arching your spine. If it feels comfortable, let your head fall back slightly to open through the front of the neck.
- Continue to breathe, feeling the front of your body open up as you extend backwards.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds or as long as you want. Then slowly lift your head back up, straighten your spine, and release the chair.
Try it and tell me what you think.
If you work on a computer all day long, typing and mousing, you are at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. One way to help prevent this painful overuse injury is to regularly take a break from work and stretch your wrists. Here is an easy stretch you should do often at your desk.
To find out how to do these two stretches, read more
There are plenty of times during the day when you may find yourself standing around. Maybe you're waiting for the bus or subway, riding the elevator by yourself, or maybe sautéing veggies. Even though you are standing in place, you don't have to stand still. There are plenty of ways for you to move your body around and burn a few extra calories. Some of these you may want to hold off on and try in the privacy of your own home.
- Stand with your feet together and lift both heels up and down.
- Stand with your feet under your hips and sway from side to side, and do circular motions with your hips clockwise and then counterclockwise.
- Bend your leg behind you, grab onto your foot and stretch the front of your right quad. Do both sides. Here's more details on this quad stretch.
- Bend one knee and kick your foot back behind you, and then quickly alternate between sides.
- Stand tall and alternate bending one knee up to your chest and then the other. Do slow, controlled movements to work your abs, or make the moves quicker to get your heart rate up.
Want to see what else you can do? Then read more
Sitting all day long at a desk job is not only boring, but it's bad for your body. It can cause lower back pain, tight hips, and tense shoulders. Research also shows that not moving for hours on end actually turns off your fat burning enzymes and slows down your metabolism, causing gradual weight gain. Sitting can also lower your beneficial HDL cholesterol levels. The solution? Stand at work instead of sitting. Since it requires more effort, you'll burn more calories. It'd be great if you could raise your desk or purchase one that has adjustable legs. If that's not a possibility, try to find times during your day where you can get out of your chair. Stand while on the phone, while looking over paperwork, during lunch, while in meetings, or chatting with your co-worker. Maybe you can inspire a trend at your office. Maybe you can all sing "Stand" by REM together too!