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How To Walk More and Sit Less at Work (and Why You Should)

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The battle against the bulge has finally hit the office, with debates going back and forth about the dangers of sitting, the dangers of standing, and everything in between. While research goes back and forth about the efficacy of standing desks and other sitting alternatives, one fact remains fairly clear – prolonged sitting is bad for your health.


Long bouts of sitting have been linked with everything from increased risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, to weight gain, and even early death. Prolonged standing isn't without its own negative side effects either though including foot pain and varicose veins.

So amidst all the back and forth, what should desk workers really focus on when it comes to their health? Sitting less and moving more. Don't miss these quick tips:


Need to use the restroom? Walk right past the one on your office floor and instead take the stairs to the bathroom on another floor.


Drive to work? Park further away from the door day by day to increase your steps in and out of the office.


Scheduling another meeting? Make it a walking meeting! Ditch the stuffy conference room and go outside together or do laps around the office, chatting and walking at the same time.


Time for lunch? Head outside and walk to a local restaurant, food truck lot, or store to grab some healthy eats and squeeze some exercise in too.


Need to message a co-worker? Instead of sending them an email or chat message, get up from your desk and walk over to them to talk in person.


Have a reusable bottle? Bring it to work and make a point to pump up your hydration game. You'll find yourself getting up more to both refill your bottle with water as well as use the restroom.


Feeling uninspired? Track your daily steps with a wearable fitness device like Fitbit or Bellabeat. Seeing your own progress and setting daily goals for walking a certain number of steps will help you stay more accountable to your activity levels.


What about when I have to be working at my desk?
For those times where you do need to zero in heads down on a project or deadline, try incorporating more of these sitting alternatives into your work day:


Standing desks – desks which mechanically rise and fall to meet your standing or sitting needs are making it easier than ever to avoid excessive sitting during the day. To glean any real health benefits from them, however, research shows you need to be using standing desks for more than a few hours each day, and they won't necessarily help you burn a ton more calories.

Incorporating movement while you use a standing desk, however, can help with your waistline. Think about doing squats, alternating single leg stances, and stretching while you work at your standing desk. Some people have even converted treadmills into standing desks so they can literally walk while they work!


Stability ball office chairs – for those times when you do need to sit down, consider losing your traditional back-breaking office chair and opting for an inflatable stability ball or exercise ball chair instead. Continuous movement, bouncing, and rolling while you work can engage more muscles than you otherwise might with regular sitting. Plus, these types of chairs can challenge your sense of balance more, requiring you to make frequent corrections and adjustments to stay upright, possibly helping you burn calories at work.


Portable exercise tools – who says sitting means you have to be still? Portable fitness tools allow you to work your muscles while you well, work. Pedal exercisers, for example, can be placed on the floor under your desk and pedaled with your feet while you type, make calls, send emails, you name it. Hand grip strengtheners can work out your forearms and hands while you're on a conference call or dictating a message too.


There are seemingly endless ways to weave more movement into your day, even when you're chained to a desk from 9 to 5. Start small with one new habit like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking further away from the office. Build up you movement overtime and don't be afraid to get creative!