As companies and individuals around the globe discover just how outdated the classic 9-5 stuck-behind-a-desk workday feels today, many are taking action to upgrade the status quo.
“Everything starts to grow up when people just give themselves permission to check in with themselves twice an hour, stretch, move their body, get the blood flowing… Your active metabolic rate goes up, your resting metabolic rate goes up, your aches and pains start to get better and you just honor your body.” (Pedram Shojai, Corporate Wellness Advisor writing for Bulletproof Radio)
Researchers are uncovering numerous health risks and productivity issues associated with extended periods of sitting down. The World Health Organization has even called out “inactivity” as the fourth biggest risk factor for adult mortality.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to adapt an office environment. In this post, we’re sharing 5 of our top tips for getting more movement into your workday, so you (and your boss) can reap the benefits.
1. Have standing meetings
Ever moaned about the unfathomable number of meetings filling your calendar? You’re not the only one! Many corporate meetings go on for far too long, lose track of the point and don’t result in any actionable outcomes. Walking or standing meetings are beneficial because they add movement into your day, create some dynamic energy (aka wake up the snoozers), boost creativity, encourage free-flowing conversations, and get things rounded off much faster. Less waffle, more action.
“I found my standing meetings lasted 36 minutes on average vs. 48 minutes sitting down. Melissa Dahl of New York Magazine recently wrote that standing up meetings can reduce meeting time by 34%.” (Neal Taparia, Co-CEO of Imagine Easy Solutions writing for Forbes Magazine)
2. Workout on your commute or lunch break
The great thing about leveraging “dead” time for workouts is that it won’t eat into your free time outside of work – result! You can try cycling, running or walking into the office (jumping off the bus one stop early or parking a little further away counts too) then fitting in a sneaky gym class during your break. Working out at lunch will also help you commit to taking a break in the middle of the day rather than just hammering away endlessly at your keyboard. Permission to make a move in the name of endorphins and efficiency.
Although it might feel highly embarrassing to start limbering up at your desk, it’s crucial to get some stretching time into your day to help increase blood flow, reduce fatigue, and minimise injury. WebMD spoke to a group of orthopaedic surgeons and exercise specialists to put together 12 simple exercises that you can do at your desk to release tension. They recommend setting a timer on your phone that goes off once per hour and reminds you to get up, shrug your shoulders, twist your torso, and circle your wrists (amongst other not-at-all awkward movements). Once you do it, the rest of the office will follow suit – promise…
4. Set a timer for breaks
How easy can it be to get so carried away with work that you forget to take a moment to breathe, move, eat, drink, and relax (you know, those basic human needs)? You’ve got your stretching timer locked in, so now you can leverage just a few more minutes to go for a walk, meditate, or decompress in whatever way works for you. Staying glued to a computer screen doesn’t give you the headspace to approach problems from a different angle and has been known to provoke passive aggressive email responses. Do your body, mind, and colleagues a favour by stepping away from the computer once in a while.
5. Use a sit-to-stand solution or standing desk
In our humble opinion, sit-to-stand and standing desks are the best things since sliced bread. They’re some of our most prized and popular products because they really are a game changer. By spending some of your workday standing, you’ll find improvements in your circulation, posture, mood, energy, and productivity. Standing desks are also thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity, lower blood sugar, and minimise back pain.
Remember, humans are designed to move. Sometimes we forget that back in the day, we’d spend our time running away from woolly mammoths, foraging for food, and leading nomadic lifestyles. Getting a one-hour HIIT workout in after you’ve spent the rest of your time sedentary, simply doesn’t cut it when it comes to preserving your productivity, health and vitality. Do your health a favour and implement a few of our top 5 movement suggestions today.
P.S. Eager to get more movement into your workday? Our Electric StandUp will effortlessly convert YOUR static desk into a sit to stand workstation via electronic control. It has one of the largest height ranges of any standing desk converter on the market. It is also more slimline, easily accommodates 1 or 2 monitors and, best of all, $10 of every purchase goes towards helping indigenous communities in Rural Australia.