American Heart Association

Too much sitting? Ways to fit in more movement during the day

3 Minute Read

Stuck at your desk all day? 

You’re not alone. U.S. adults spend an average six to eight hours a day being sedentary. 

The cost of all that inactivity has not been quantified in dollars, but the costs of poor health and ensuing productivity loss in the workplace has: About $225.8 billion overall per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Workplace wellness programs are one way more companies are encouraging employees to boost their physical activity and take other steps that contribute to better cardiovascular and overall health. Before health and safety measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 caused many workplaces to impose restrictions, on-site gyms and fitness classes offered those who might not otherwise seek out an exercise program a way to explore one while at work.

To encourage participation, such programs should be designed to welcome all workers, not just the “fitness buffs,”, said Deborah Rohm Young, a director of behavioral research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California. "Just getting in that door can be intimidating."

The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week. Young suggests setting a timer to remember to move around for five minutes every hour, or 10 minutes every two hours.  

"Sit less, move more," she said, "Take those smaller breaks throughout the day so you're not sitting all at once."

Use these tricks to fit in more movement during the day: 

  • Walk during breaks. Walk the office halls or do laps around the building. Working from home? Take a brisk walk around your neighborhood.  Lunchtime strolls can have the added benefit of helping your mind to focus on the afternoon's work.
  • Move for meetings. Stand during meetings. When possible, have your meeting while walking together.
  • Opt for the more active option. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to talk with a co-worker in person rather than using the phone or electronic messaging.
  • Take public transportation instead of driving. It likely involves walking to and from the transit stop.
  • Move while at your desk. Use standing or adjustable desks to avoid sitting while on the phone or at the computer. Exercise at your desk, with squats or jumping jacks. Even simple ankle and arm flexes or stretching occasionally while sitting at a desk gets muscles active.

 

Article provided by the American Heart Association

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