We all know we need to move more. Many of us have heard that ‘sitting is the new smoking’ and, whilst I don’t totally agree with that (see here) I am all for anything that highlights our sedentarism and its dangers.
However if we work at a computer and spend a large chunk of our day at a desk either standing or sitting then breaking out of that sedentarism can be a challenge. I know that. My back knew it all too well for 14 years. We can do it though. Once we’ve invested the time into thinking about how to move multi-tasking work and movement at our desks is so much easier than we think… and I’ve invested that time for you to get you going. So if you’re office bound this one is for you.
1. Take an eye break. Every 30mins look at the furthest thing you can see from your desk. Even better get up and look out of a window. Try to make a habit of walking past the window when you’re up from your desk and make sur eyou look out everytime you do. Our eyes have muscles in them too and they need to move like the rest of us.
2. Get yourself a wobble cushion to sit on. It has the effect of one of those big swiss exercise balls but it’s more subtle, takes up way less space and won’t roll away when you stand up to reach for something. A wobble cushion allows your pelvis to move about whilst you’re sitting and also supports you in a neutral position with less effort.
3. Get yourself a fancy keyboard that splits in two. Our shoulders need to move. Moving the distance between which our hands (and thus arms and shoulders) need to work lets our shoulders move. They look a bit weird yes, and it will test your typing skills but a split keyboard will make a huge difference to your shoulders (and thus back :)).
4. Stretch your calves. Sitting shortens your calf muscles, putting the ball of your foot up on something whilst you are working helps lengthen them out. I like a half roller or a large pebble.
5. Get up and get a drink every hour. If the water cooler is within 5 steps then find another one or do a lap around the office first.
6. Eat your lunch away from your desk in a body shape that is different from that used at your desk. I mean, we’re not playing musical statues here, but if you sit in a chair to work then stand up to eat, if you stand to work, sit to eat (yes, I did really just say that!)
7. Sit with a neutral pelvis. Sit on your sit bones so that your tail bone isn’t being squashed, not only are you leaving your spine alone to do its important job of housing your central nervous system, you’ll use more muscle here and therefore naturally move a little more.
8. Stand up for meetings. Bonus to this is that they end up being much shorter and more focused!
9. Walk and talk. Take your phone for a walk to make your calls. If there’s no where to walk find an empty meeting room to stand in. If meeting rooms are gold dust (as they were in my last office) then be creative, but try to find somewhere; standing to take calls is a super effective way to move and be productive at the same time.
10. Slip off your shoes and roll your feet on a ball or stone to move some of those 33 joints in the foot. I find bouncy balls are the best for this; they have a bit of give (unlike a golf ball) and are less likely to split then a tennis ball on a stressful day!
Tanya is co-founder of Move More UK. She is passionate about seeing people thrive by moving more!
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