Health and Wellness -- Wellness in the Workplace: Eliminating a Sedentary Lifestyle
- Written by Sarah Childs, BS; ACSM EP-C
Do you ever find yourself wondering where all the hours in the day have gone? In just 24 hours you have to either get ready for work, take care of your kids or pets, make breakfast, drive to work, eat lunch, drive home from work, take the kids to sports, pick up the kids from sports, take the dog on a walk, make dinner, maybe meet up with some friends, get ready for tomorrow, and finally sleep. Just reading that may make you feel exhausted, but hopefully you can relate to the dreaded “To-Do List”. So, with all these responsibilities, where does health and wellness fall for you? It can be hard and stressful to start adding healthy choices into your life when you don’t even feel like you have time for a 20-minute nap.
I personally work in the corporate wellness industry and this population of hard-working individuals (YOU) are my passion! Why? Because YOU work so hard throughout your whole day either taking care of others, advancing your career, making an impact on the community, providing for your family and the list goes on. We appreciate your hard-working nature, but it is time you start helping yourself along the way. Maybe you don’t have time to fit in daily exercise yet or are unsure how to begin; that’s okay! The first step you can take in order to become more active is to eliminate a sedentary lifestyle. Think of all the times you are sitting down: driving, eating, working on a laptop, in a meeting, talking on the phone, etc. That’s A LOT of sitting, which is now well known to be detrimental to health for long periods of time. Try out some of my suggestions below to start cutting your sitting time in half!
- Park at the end of the lot: Allow yourself to get in extra walking by parking further away from your business. Is there a coffee shop close by? Instead of using the drive through, park and then walk to pick up your morning coffee. Use this time to practice positive self-talk and de-stress before the day begins. Notice how quickly your mood changes!
- Stand every 20 minutes: Set a timer at your desk (computer or phone) for every 20 minutes to remind yourself to stand. If you are thinking through a problem of how to solve it, stand. Standing allows better blood flow to the brain and statistically helps you process information compared to sitting.
- Choose a different bathroom: Start exploring! Find a bathroom on the opposite side of the building from where you work. Bonus: Find one on a different level than yours and take the stairs. Look all that extra walking time by just changing one thing!
- Solve problems in person: With a computer you have the world at your fingertips and with just a couple clicks you can shoot your coworker a quick email. Instead, stand up and walk the few feet over to them to ask in person. You allow yourself to move and socialize all at once, and maybe you’ll even get a faster response. If they’re busy? No worries! If they were busy odds are, they won’t be answering your email anyways so just stand up and try again in 10 minutes.
- Take a lunch break: Every business has a different lunch protocol so maybe you don’t have time to get a full workout in on your lunch hour. Instead, grab a coworker and walk to pick up lunch at a nearby venue. If you usually pack your lunch, you could still walk with them and enjoy socializing. Find some way to be active on your lunch break that does not entail you skipping out on eating. Be creative and try new things each day!
- Stand up for phone calls: Make every time that your phone rings a stand-up break. You can still stay by your computer if necessary but stand up! If you can, walk around for that duration of the call.
Look at all that extra activity by just doing your job! Start adding these tricks to your daily routine at work and notice how your mood, productivity, and posture changes. By adding standing breaks to your work day you’re also adding mental breaks along the way. By just walking away from your computer for a couple of minutes can do wonders for your stress levels. Your posture will also benefit by eliminating the long periods of sitting by giving your neck and back a break from the same position.
Your journey towards a healthier life can start today by just going to work!
To connect with Sarah, follow her on Instagram, @_sarahbefit
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