We all know it’s bad for us, but most of us can’t do anything about it. I would love to have a stand up workstation or a treadmill under my desk. I would really love to work from home. Maybe even standing up in a park somewhere enjoying the sunshine.
Unfortunately, most of us can’t do that. We work in big companies that don’t like “different” thinking people. You’d be the weird one for wanting to stand around all day.
So what can we do about it?
Here are some of my ideas to move around a bit more during work. They’re not going to counteract all of the sitting, but they won’t hurt.
Take breaks – In most offices, no one will really mind if you step out for 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day. Get outside if possible and take a walk. If you can’t get outside, just wander around the building for a bit. I personally go at 10 and 3. I figure it’s my “smoke break”. Just without the nicotine.
Legally most places are required to give you so many breaks a day. If anybody asks, just tell them the truth. If they are really upset that you care about your health, you’re working for the wrong company.
Don’t eat at your desk – Stop spending your lunch break at your desk. You need a break from working. Even if you aren’t working, you need a break from the computer screen. Find a place outside, a bench, or a cafeteria to have something to eat. Or just go out to eat and find a healthy meal.
Then after you eat, go for a long walk. It takes maybe 15 minutes to eat. That leaves 45 for whatever you want.
Work out at lunch – If you’re lucky enough to have a gym near work, get your workout in at lunch. You only need 30 minutes of basic weight training to get a solid workout.
Print everything – I know it’s a waste of paper, but most offices recycle these days. Find a printer far from your desk too. The 30 seconds you spend walking to the printer will add up if you’re doing it all day.
Read standing up – This goes along with printing. Now that you have it on paper, just stand by your desk to read it. This works great if you get a lot of emails and reports to review daily.
Pace when you’re on the phone – Get a wireless headset if you need to. Just don’t sit while you’re talking.
Use a small water bottle – And drink a lot of water. This means you have to get up to refill it a lot and you’ll need plenty of bathroom breaks.
Talk to people – Get up and talk to your coworkers. Stop emailing people that work in the next cubicle. Deliver things personally and remember to ask lots of questions.
Ideally, the only time you should be sitting is when you absolutely have to be using your computer. It’s not as good as a stand up workstation, but better than sitting in one spot not moving.
Oh, and don’t sit down when you get home from work. The TV is your enemy. Cook some dinner, go for a walk, do chores, and be sure to play.