Stand Up at Work—Literally!—for Better Health

What?!? You can exercise for an hour a day and still be too sedentary? Yep. If you’re spending hours at your desk or other work station, these prolonged periods of inactivity can create health hazards for you.

A Harvard Medical School report gleaned from 47 studies shows that definite health hazards occur when we’re parked at our desks.

More than half of our waking hours are spent sitting, and that could pose a serious health risk – yes, even for people who exercise up to an hour a day. Negative effects are even more pronounced for those of us who do little or no exercise.

The health hazards of not moving frequently are eye-opening. Too much sitting has been linked to heart and vascular disease, diabetes, and premature death. There are higher rates of cancer and cancer-related deaths in very sedentary people. Some researchers are working to see if there’s a connection between a sedentary life and dementia.

Break the grindVascular Health and a Sedentary Occupation - In Content

Don’t let your desk job become deadly. Consider these tips for breaking uninterrupted sitting:

Visit in person. Instead of sending an email question, occasionally walk to another person’s cubicle to find out what you need to know.

Alarm app. Program your computer or other device to give you a reminder to stand and stretch every half-hour or so.

Take the long way. If you’re going to the supply cabinet for a ream of paper, make the journey a little longer.

Be a walker. Carry a stack of folders for a brisk trip around the workplace and every one will just assume you’re on a mission.

Establish triggers. Every time you finish writing a report, stretch!

Phone calls. Would standing during every call work for you? Or at least one call an hour?

Under the desk. Purchase an aerobic pedal exerciser (fairly inexpensive) to use every half hour or so.

Buddy system. Ask Heather in the next cubicle to stand and remind you to stand – and you’ll do the same for her.

At least, stretch. If your job environment means you’re stuck in your seat, at least stretch your arms up high, tighten and release your calves, make circular motions with your ankles, and other “in the chair” movements every half hour or so.

If you’re able: a standing desk. This latest craze might get a thumbs up from the boss if you tell her you’re paying for it yourself.

Small Steps: Eat fish weekly.
Fish with omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout and herring, are especially beneficial to your arteries and heart.