Updated: Oct 2, 2019
Isn’t it ironic that while our lives are extremely fast paced today but most of our work day is sedentary. Not only does our work day provide little or no avenue for physical exertion but even our modes of entertainment after a day at work are more or less the same when it comes to the level of physical activity. No one ever burnt any extra calories watching a movie, TV or even reading a book for that matter.
We are all aware about the virtues of exercising. Many of us would also diligently work out for 20 to 60 minutes a day for four days a week. This is all good, but is it the right approach? In other words, it does not address the sedentary lifestyle issue. To address that, a suggestion I have found helpful is to have some physical movement every 30 minutes, could be something as simple as a walk in the hallway at work or a trip to the water fountain (comes with the additional benefit of hydrating regularly). Programs like “3 for Every 30” where you move for 3 minutes for every 30 minutes of sedentary work.
Our bodies were not made to work-out for an hour and then be a couch potato for rest of the day. We were designed to move the whole day. It is essential to have some physical movement (walking) every so often, and you can incorporate in your daily lifestyle making simple changes.
If you have a sitting job, do not keep things you need the most in reachable distance from your chair. For instance, keep your printer across the room, so you would have to walk not just stretch arms to get prints. If possible, instead of picking the intercom, go to your colleague’s desk and talk to them. These small efforts can make a big impact on your metabolism.
Activity friendly workstations, such as standing up desks could also be a good option. Start with simple things that you can follow and continue as a matter of daily discipline. Getting a fancy treadmill with a DVD player sounds great but if it is not something that is used every day and becomes less and less used with time then it is just a fancy toy for grown-ups.
These are some little "hacks" you can use:
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Parking farther away from your building so you have more walking to do.
Taking walking or standing meetings rather than sitting in a conference room.
Doing squats or glute squeezes during phone calls.
Most of American jobs need very little or no physical activity. Hence, we need to make all the small changes we can, to move the needle a little more, day after day, every day.