The GetFive Blog

4 Surprisingly Simple Steps for Staying Healthy at a Sedentary Job

January 24, 2019
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Correct posture for sitting at an office desk. Diagram shows a woman typing at her desk sitting on a stability ball. This is an editable EPS 10 vector illustration. Download includes a high resolution JPEG.

You work a typical 8-5 job and spend most of your days typing away on a computer while sitting at your desk. You know you sit for long periods, but you also try to visit the gym several times a week to stay active. You figure working out helps make up for the sedentary work you do.

The problem is, your figuring is all wrong.

Research shows that spending your days sitting for many hours may increase your risk for early death, despite how much you exercise outside of work. This is sobering news for the after-work exercise crowd who think they’re combating eight or nine hours of sitting with a quick 30-minute treadmill walk.

That’s not to say you should stop working out. The best solution is to find ways to be more active while you’re at work in addition to your typical exercise routine. That might seem impossible at a job that ties you to a desk the majority of the time, but with a few simple tweaks to work habits, you can change your health and hopefully live a long, full life.

Assess your environment:

Transform your office space to be conducive to movement. If possible, invest in a treadmill desk. If money is an issue, under-desk cycles or steppers are more affordable solutions that keep the body moving. Stand-up desks or height-adjustable computer stands are a nice option as well to change up your positioning throughout the day.

Set reminders:

You use your calendar to organize meetings and deadlines; you should also use it to set reminders to move throughout the day. For example, for five minutes at the start of every hour, block time for a brisk walk around the office. That “bing” will keep you (literally) on your toes, so you don’t forget to keep active.

Start a walking club:

Spend your morning and afternoon 15-minute breaks walking with a crew of fellow-minded co-workers. Set up a time to meet in the lobby and then everyone can walk together as a group. This is an awesome way to get to know others while keeping each other accountable for regularly staying active.

Stretch it out:

Make it a rule that after every meeting you attend, you do a quick five-minute stretch session before digging back into emails. Sitting for long periods can cause poor posture, which leads to achy muscles, a misaligned spine and other physical issues. Stretching gets the blood flowing and wakens you for your next task — not to mention, it feels great.

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