When the majority of your day consists of sitting at a desk staring a computer screen, activity becomes increasingly important to your health. Desk jobs affect physical health in many ways, not only does lack of movement cause you to not burn off unnecessary calories but it decreases overall metabolism as your body adapts to stillness and circulation slows down.
Sitting for long periods of time can also cause loss of muscle tone and flexibility as muscles are not regularly engaged and poor posture causes them to tense up and joints to tighten. Those with desk jobs are also more likely to experience long-term health problems as their chances of developing obesity, heart disease, or diabetes are increased. Even though there are so many negative side effects, you probably do not have the option to quit your day job for health reasons. But don’t worry, there are many ways you can counteract the effects of sedentary work life.
First, it is important to incorporate activity throughout your day. Whether it’s walking that extra few blocks to the nearest deli for lunch instead of going to the cafeteria inside your building or climbing the stairs to get to your office floor instead of taking the elevator, there are many little choices you can make that will add up to a healthier you.
You should make it a priority to take small breaks throughout the work day is to maintain activity. Even just getting up and moving around every one to two hours will help keep your metabolism active, blood flowing,Â and increase overall circulation. Try to take a five to 10 minute activity break a few times a day by finding an excuse to walk over to a coworker’s desk, going to the kitchen to fill up your water bottle, or taking your phone calls standing up.
Second, while you already know it’s important to keep your body healthy, making an effort to maintain physical fitness it is even more vital when you spend most of your life sitting still. In addition to trying to stay active at work, you should make an effort to get your heart rate up on a regular basis.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio each week, this means that you should be exercising for at least 30 minutes on five days out of the week. Although sweating is necessary, those who find that they spend the majority of their life at a desk may want to up their work out routines just a bit.
Along with regular cardio, it’s also important to take the time to weight train in order to strengthen muscles and prevent them from weakening. According to the CDC muscle-strengthening activities, such as weight lifting or resistance training, should be done two or more days out of the week. Stretching is also important as it helps return blood flow to the muscles, increase range of motion, and reduce overall body pain. The Mayo Clinic recommends that stretching be done at least two to three times a week with each stretch being held for about 30 seconds and then repeated three to four times.