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Simple ways to stay active at work and at home

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The word ‘sedentary’ is used to describe someone who tends to spend a lot of time seated and somewhat inactive, or to describe a lifestyle or career in which you spend the majority of your time sitting – for example, a desk job. 

We try to combat the effects of the desk-job lifestyle by squeezing in a run before work or going to the gym on our way home from work. But if you are following or preceding this with sitting down for 3 hours a pop, you might actually be diminishing the benefits of your hard work and damaging your posture. Unfortunately, even being ‘actively’ sedentary is still predominantly sedentary.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of simple ways for you to stay as active as you need, both at work and at home.

At Work

It’s time to get creative! Find opportunities in the mundane with our suggestions of little and big things to incorporate at your business.

Small, simple changes:

  • If it is an option, switch up your mode of transport for your daily commute to involve more walking (maybe park a bit further from the building) or even cycling.
  • Take the stairs at every opportunity you get.
  • Standing desks are great for blood flow and posture, even if used in spurts rather than for a full day. You could get an adjustable desk or a desk adapter to place on top of your desk. Just make sure that the height is correct for you, otherwise you’d be trading one bad thing for another in terms of posture.
  • Over and above the standing desk or as an alternative, try sitting on an exercise ball instead of an office chair. This will engage your core and assist in maintaining good posture.
  • Try a walking lunch. If you have an hour-long lunch break, spend the first half walking in the area or around the office and the second eating.
  • If your job requires a lot of interaction, try walking meetings and phone calls. If presentations aren’t required and the meeting is more of a discussion, see if it’s possible to have it outside while walking. If you have a portable work phone, every time your phone rings, take the call and walk around until the call is over.
  • Keep track of your step count and set goals for yourself. A constant reminder like this on your phone or fitness band can help when you get engrossed in a task and need to take a break.
  • Drink lots of water. Not only is this good for your overall well-being, but it might increase your toilet breaks, too, giving you more reason to get up from your desk and walk a little more.

Intentional daily additions:

  • If you sit close to a wall, try wall push ups every 45 minutes to an hour. Start with sets of 5 reps each time and every week increase it by 2 or 3 reps per set. Not only will you see results over time, but you’ll also get short, revitalising breaks throughout the day to increase your overall productivity.
  • Ever heard of deskercise? Desk exercise offers a world of opportunity that can be as subtle as you need it to be. The endless options, limited only by your imagination, include leg lifts with ankle weights while sitting, shoulder raises, calf raises, neck stretches, tricep dips, and much much more!
  • Move more, wait less. If you’re waiting for the printer, copier, microwave or kettle, do some jumping jacks, squats, lunges or push ups.
  • If your new lifestyle is inspiring your colleagues, start an office challenge. For example, the 30-day push up challenge – on day 1, everybody does 1 push up in the lunch break, on day 2, everybody does 2 push ups in the lunch break, etc.

At Home

If you can’t get to the gym or don’t have time for the full gym workout process, try some of these home workouts and exercise ideas.

  • Running: Sometimes a simple run around the block is all you need to get the blood pumping, and it’s even better when you can pump your favourite tunes simultaneously.
  • Yoga: A calming way to exercise – What more could you want? With numerous apps available to guide you through yoga poses and breathing, you can start your journey with as little as a click of a button.
  • 5-min no-equipment full-body workout: Time isn’t an issue with this easy-to-master workout, complete with simple instructions and videos.
  • 20 min no-equipment full-body workout: Level-up and tweak as you go with this adaptable plan made up of the staples in exercise, complete with simple instructions and videos.
  • Darebee: Variety is the spice of life with this free and fun website, fully loaded with exciting workouts ranging from that of your favourite superheroes to a daily ‘workout of the day’, ensuring that you never get bored of exercising!

So there you have it! There are no excuses to neglect your body, and there is always a way to move naturally.