You’ve probably heard it before: sitting is the new smoking. Too much sitting and too little exercise have numerous harmful effects on your body and can eventually lead to obesity, cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes and even premature death. On average we sit no less than nine hours a day. How do you make sure you can stay healthy and exercise enough if you have an office job?
Seven tips to get enough exercise if you sit all day
How harmful is sitting?
Something has to change. Sitting three hours a day already has harmful effects on your body. It has proven negative consequences for your metabolism. Your blood vessels don't work as well, the sugar regulation gets worse and the blood flow to your brain decreases. Your muscle use also decreases and that in turn has a bad influence on the metabolism. What's more, a lot of sitting is not only bad for our body, but also for our productivity and creativity.
More exercise and staying healthy with an office job
This way you make sure that you can stay healthy and exercise sufficiently when you sit all day.
1. Still “going” to work
Now that we are working so much at home, we even miss the movement of running to your train or cycling to work. We understand that not everyone has the self-discipline to exercise with a sleepy head in the morning. But how about getting up a little earlier to get on your bike or go for a walk? Do the same when you close your laptop and you've already moved before and after work.
2. Take a micro-break every hour
Set an alarm clock every hour to remind you to stretch your legs. Walk to the toilet, look outside or do some jumping jackets and squads. According to the scientific journal New Scientist, traditional cultures change a lot. We can learn something from that. Besides just sitting down, they crouch or kneel regularly.
Use your micro-break to fill your glass of water anyway. This way you also make sure that you are hydrated. A win-win, that's what we call it.
3. Use your lunch break
It's tempting to sit down and relax during your lunch break. But especially now it is extra important that you get some exercise during your lunch break. For example, do a short workout before you eat something, or go for a walk. Bet you'll enjoy the sun and a good podcast as well?
4. Walking meetings
Speaking of hiking, see if you can turn some meetings into walks. Instead of a video call, just discuss it over the phone. A one-on-one real-life meeting can often easily become a walking meeting.
5. Invest in a standing desk
Research has shown that it is best to work standing up for one hour for every two hours you sit. This is of course impossible if you do your work on a laptop, unless you invest in a standing desk. They come in all shapes and sizes: from laptop tables on wheels to foldable ones that you can put on the kitchen table.
6. Aim for a more active lifestyle
Actually, it all boils down to one thing: a more active lifestyle and more exercise. And not only at work, but also in your free time. You can take a mini-break every hour, but if you watch Netflix for hours after work, your body still doesn't thank you. Becoming aware of how much you're actually sitting is the first step. Then you can make small changes in your daily life that together make a big difference.
7. Make it a challenge
Finally, we would like to give you a tip: make sufficient exercise a challenge. For example, try to move for 30 minutes for 30 days. Or take 10,000 steps every day for a month. If you do it together with a colleague or friend, you can hold each other responsible.
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