Being active throughout the day is one of the absolute hardest things to do and also one of the most important things to do. Staying active throughout the workday has become increasingly more difficult- especially because most of the work we do involves sitting at the computer or at a desk.
The unfortunate reality is that staying seated for much of the day can result in muscle tightness and soreness, lower back aches and pains, tight hip flexor muscles, indigestion, and of course the big one– staying seated all day can majorly decrease calorie burn.
For most of us, being active throughout most of the day is not a possibility, but for all you desk-sitters (which includes me sometimes too!), here are some simple ways to get you moving.
5 Simple Ways to Move More:
1. Get a movement tracking device: I swear by my Fitbit. When I started my own business and was working from home (as opposed to running around the hospital all day) I noticed a major decline in how much I was moving- and how much more I was sitting. I love my Fitbit- not because it tracks how much I move, but because it tracks how much I don’t move. It’s great motivation to walk around your desk a few times, or take a lap around the office.
What’s also great about movement tracking devices is that they allow for connection- between friends, family, coworkers and even your nutritionist (ahem!).
2. Incorporate easy strength-based movements: Even if sitting all day is your norm, try these few easy strength movements when going about everyday trips to the bathroom, the copy machine and more.
The chair squat: Every time you get up and sit down you can easily incorporate a little chair squat. Simply engage your quads (thighs) and gluten (butt) and stand up more slowly- causing the motion to come from your muscles instead of your joints. Do the same when you’re sitting down. First tighten your glutes and quads as you more slowly sit down- this will help to increase blood flow to the muscles, will help to take pressure off of the hip flexors (especially if you squeeze your glutes extra-hard) and will help to promote calorie burning. Aim for 10.
The calf raise: The next time you’re standing at the copy machine, or making coffee in the the office kitchen, incorporate some calf raises. Calf raises are simple and will help to get the blood flowing not only in the calves but also up and down the entire leg- especially if glutes are tightened while doing them. Squeezing glutes will also help to release hip flexors that can get fairly grumpy after sitting all day. Aim for 20.
3. Take a walk: Recent research sang praises to the often neglected lunchtime walk (click here for the article and here for the research ). The research suggests that taking a walk at lunch (about 30 minutes) can really help to improve mood, enthusiasm and thereby productivity. So even if a 30 minute walk doesn’t fit in, getting some movement into the day is really beneficial.
4. Stand while you talk: Although this isn’t possible for everyone, if it’s possible to stand up while talking- do it. Talking while standing or walking can help to provide a much needed break for the digestive system that is compressed while sitting and can help to get the blood flowing. Additionally, research suggests that standing while talking can improve voice projection – which means more confidence. The bonus is also that talking and walking can boost blood flow, mood, and can help to burn calories.
5. Purchase a reusable water bottle: Hydration is so key for weight maintenance, satiety, preventing muscle soreness and more, but getting and using a reusable water bottle it’s also a great way to get you up and moving throughout the office when it comes time to fill it up.
Aim to drink around 64 oz daily, which means eight 8 oz glasses (and for every cup of caffeine after the first one, aim to drink 1, 8 oz cup of water per cup). Plan to purchase a glass or stainless steel water bottle (BPA-free is my least favorite)- and keep it on your desk. When it gets empty, get up and take a walk to fill it up.
If you have trouble remembering to drink water, simply set your phone alarm for every 2 hours or so as a reminder to be almost finished with a 16 oz container. That phone alarm works well also for reminding you to take a walk- so don’t forget to use it.