Tricks to Reduce the Time You Spend Sitting Down In The Office
You probably already know how bad sitting is for your health. Health-related issues caused by too much sitting can range from obesity to deep vein thrombosis, heart disease and metabolic syndrome – even a shortened life span.
Yes it is true – sitting for extended periods of time can cause an early death. In a recent study of 123,000 Americans, the death rate was 20% higher in men that sat for six hours per day than it was for those only sitting for three hours at a time; for women, the difference was 40%.
So let’s translate this into years. If you sit for an average of at least three hours per day during your life, you’ll die about two years sooner. Add in a few hours of watching TV after work and you’ll shave off an additional 1.4 years. So your desk job and watching TV will take you to your grave about 3.5 years sooner than it would have had you reduced the amount of time you sat.
O.K., so we know how bad prolonged sitting is for us, but when we have a job that requires sitting, what can we do to sit less? For one, change your work habits. You shouldn’t sit for over two hours at one time without taking a short 5-minute standing or walking break. Set an online timer on your computer to remind you when it is time to get up and move. Another trick is to use a smaller than normal water glass or coffee cup. That forces you to get up more to get water or coffee.
Second, change your office ergonomics. If you are sitting in a conventional office setting, make some office furnishing changes if your company will allow it. Many companies are letting their employees select either standing or walking treadmill desks. If that is not an option, see if your company will spring for a different chair – one without a back. Stools, kneeling chairs or even big stability balls work great because they force the muscles in your back and hips to strengthen in order to support you. Otherwise you rely on the back of your chair for support and your back muscles eventually lose strength, setting you up for a back injury.
Many companies are starting to pay more attention to office ergonomics as they discover how poorly designed desks and chairs negatively affects workers’ productivity and health. Do your body and your family a favor, ask to implement these changes in your office.
4 Office Tricks Your Can Use Immediately
Over time, sitting down too long at work can bring on a whole host of health issues including an early death. Research found sitting for over three hours per day throughout your working career cuts two years off of your life expectancy. Add in two hours of sitting watching TV per day and you just shaved off another 1.4 years.
Of course the best way to reduce your risk of getting plagued by sitting-related health issues or go to an early grave is to reduce or minimize the amount of time you sit. Try these tips to sit less:
Use a standing workstation or one with a walking treadmill.
These are the newest type of office furnishings many companies are buying for their employees to sustain the health of their employees and decrease the amount spent on health care costs. While not cheap, companies have found by having ergonomically-friendly furnishings, their overall health costs went down.
Use a standing/sitting workstation
If your company won’t buy a standing workstation, you may get them to rehab your sitting desk into a sitting/standing workstation. Usually all needed is an elevated platform to get an external monitor up to eye-level and another shorter platform to get an external keyboard at a height so you can comfortably type while standing when your forearms are parallel to the floor.
Use a small cup or glass
By using a smaller-than-normal cup or glass, you’ll be more inclined to get up and refill it more often. And the more you drink, the more you’ll l have to get up and go to the bathroom. Doubled effect of reducing sitting time!
Walk instead of email
If the colleague you are going to send an email to is located in your building, get up and hand deliver your message instead of emailing it. You probably need to get something to drink or go to the bathroom anyway.
Other ways to get you moving during the workday
While these tips below won’t reduce the amount of time you sit during the day, they will add exercise to your day and help offset the effects of sitting:
1. Park at the far end of the parking lot and walk in the rest of the way.
2. If you take public transportation, get off a stop or two before your regular stop and walk the rest of the way.
3. Once inside your building, stake the stairs for a few flights up before getting on the elevator.
4. Take a 15-minute walk after lunch instead of sitting down and going back to work.
Use these tips to reduce and offset the amount of time you sit at work. Not only will your body thank you for it, your family will rejoice to have you around longer in their lives.