In recent years, numerous studies have found that sitting for an extended period of time is bad for health – even if you exercise on a regular basis. A study conducted by the American Cancer Society over a 14-year period found that women who sat for more than six hours a day were nearly 40 percent more likely to die during the course of the study, compared to those who sat for less than three hours a day. Men were about 20 percent more likely to die.
The stats for those who didn’t work out regularly and sat all day had an even higher mortality rate – 94 percent for women and 48 percent for men.
So, what do you do if your job requires you to be sedentary for most of the day? Fortunately, there are options to help keep you moving.
Research out of Penn State College of Medicine found that using a compact elliptical device while sitting at a desk or watching television may result in weight loss of a little over five pounds a year, or at least prevent the one to two pounds that the average adult gains each year. Researchers chose this device as it’s fairly low cost, quiet and requires only a small space.
Assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences, Liza Rovniak, says, “assuming participants held other components of energy balance constant, daily use of the elliptical device for one hour might result in a weight loss of 5.2 pounds per year and help prevent the one-to-two pound annual weight gain among U.S. adults.”
Under desk bicycle
A mini exercise bike is another great solution for being more active during the day and keeping your blood circulating. While they easily fit under most desks, you may want to measure first just to make sure there is enough room, so that your knees won’t hit the desk while you’re pedaling.
Get a headset for your phone, and exercise when you have to talk. You can pump your dumbbells and walk around your office or cubicle at the same time for greater effect.
You can easily store resistance bands in a desk drawer, and they can be used to help you build muscle strength without leaving your office. Ideally, you should perform one set of 12 to 15 resistance exercises, breathing at regular intervals and keeping your movements smooth. Do arm curls between tasks to get yourself moving periodically.
Trade your desk chair for a fitness or stability ball. It helps to improve balance while toning core muscles, even when sitting. It can also be used for wall squats and other exercises throughout the day.
In addition to utilizing these great exercise tools, be sure to get active on your breaks and at lunch. If possible, use the restroom on another floor and take the stairs, or just walk around the office at least once every hour. You might ask a coworker to join you for a walk during your lunch hour, or even start an office pool to come up with the most innovative ideas for fitting more physical activity into the work day.
-The Alternative Daily