By: Shani Soloff, PT, MS, CFMT, CEAS1
Keeping healthy at work is a daily effort, and requires regular attention and mindfulness. Movement during the day is critical to maintaining wellness, while also fostering greater concentration and engagement and boosting productivity. The key becomes how to set up for success, and be wary of common pitfalls. Also, knowing what will help and what will hurt is extremely advantageous.
It is fairly common knowledge at this point that too much inactivity such as prolonged sitting is harmful to our health. The alternative to immobility is to add more activity. Replacing static sitting with static standing does not combat the inactivity. A standing desk is not a magic panacea. Movement in the Workplace discusses how productivity is improved by adding mobility to the workplace.
7 Tips for improving your health at work, focusing on simply adding more activity to your day:
Tip #1: Drink more! Bring your water bottle to work, as drinking more water accomplishes many things. First, it hydrates your body, which makes the tissues of your body feel better. Second, it forces you to get up and go to the bathroom more frequently (Yes! Moving around more!).
Tip #2: Move frequently used items further away, enough so that you have to get up and get them. For example, the aforementioned water bottle: place it so that standing and walking a few steps is required. (Of secondary benefit, this reduces the likelihood of potentially damaging liquid spills.)
Tip #3: Stand up to talk on the phone, when not simultaneously typing (or writing). Everything counts, so a few minutes standing to talk is definitely better than staying fixed to your seat for the duration of the whole phone call.
Tip #4: Take the stairs instead of the elevator! This is commonly recommended, yet often hard to follow through on. Consider taking at least 1-2 flights to your destination. Invite a colleague to walk with you.
Tip #5: Move more frequently! Sitting still for too long is bad for the body and the brain. You can get “stuck” in the position you’re in, and it becomes physically difficult to get out of that position. Moving around, standing up, changing your position- these can jumpstart both your body and your brain.
Tip #6: Walking or stand-up meetings: encourage meetings to be either walking meetings, or shorter meetings conducted while standing. Nowadays, many people are interested in health and wellness, and more inclined to be receptive to the suggestion. It is also a great way to keep your meetings shorter, and save on wasted time. Short article on stand up meetings how-to’s here: It’s Not Just Standing Up: Patterns for Daily Standup Meetings
Tip #7: Track your steps! As you can see from reading these tips, we are trying to encourage you to minimize stationary behaviors and maximize your mobility during the day. Many people find step trackers a great incentive to encourage more mobility during the day. Start tracking your steps- see how much you really walk around, and how many calories you are burning!
Every little bit counts! Don’t give up on adding motion because you cannot do this list in its entirety. Rather, pick the one item that seems easiest and start there. Often, a small amount of mindfulness will get you started on your journey to improve your working health.
Start small, and start today!