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Are You Sitting Too Much at Work?

Think WAY back to high school physics. Do you remember Sir Isaac Newton and his first Law of Motion. If so, congratulations! You must have been paying more attention than most. If not, allow me to brush off your brain-webs; the first Law of Motion states that an object tends to remain in a certain state of motion. In other words, something at rest tends to stay at rest. Like so many of us, at our desks, for hours and hours and hours each week. We sit. Sedentary.

We are sitting our way into a health crisis—in fact, Canadians are spending up to 10 hours per day being sedentary. That, coupled with the fact that we aren’t nearly active enough creates a double whammy situation.  Here’s what’s interesting: even if you are engaging in regular physical activity, that does not undo the negative effects of sitting/being sedentary all day.  But many of us work in jobs that require us to sit. As a result, our muscles are weak and inflexible, our organs are suffering, our focus and productivity is poor, and our bodies are in pain. What are us desk-sitters to do?

Sit Better

Office ergonomics matter. This means taking a look at things like how your workstation is set-up, how you sit, and how long you stay in one position.
There’s lots of great information and tips on office ergonomics at https://myhealth.alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?Hwid=tr5915

Include Movement into Your Routine

  • Stand up when talking on the phone or participating in a teleconference, or even in the middle of an in-person meeting.  Encourage a statement at the beginning of the meeting about attendees being most welcome to take a standing break whenever they need to and convey that it’s an appropriate behaviour.
  • When selecting your default printer, choose one that will allow you to walk a few extra steps.
  • Try walking meetings.
  • Take short stretch breaks regularly throughout the day. Set the timer on your phone if you need a reminder.
  • Use your breaks wisely. Get in the habit of including movement into every break!

Create a Culture of Wellness 

  • Get your colleagues on board. Have you considered scheduling a weekly, 15 minute team walk? We are more likely to be successful with health changes if those around us embrace the same behaviours. Three cheers for positive peer pressure!

The first Law of Motion can work for or against us. Put yourself in motion and you’ll tend to remain there - see for yourself how good it feels to unfurl!

Tell us in the comments below about the fun and creative ways you’ve been able to incorporate activity into your work day.