Many entry level jobs involve extended periods of sitting. While staying planted at your desk for hours at a time may help you train up for that long roadtrip you’ve been planning, recent studies reveal that it is actually harmful to both your health and productivity.
Sitting all day causes “electrical activity in the muscles [to drop]…leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects,” according to scientists featured in the New York Times.
Researchers found that sitting down for prolonged periods of time (like the entire duration of the workday) can slow your calorie-burning rate to about one per minute, which is a third of the rate when you’re walking. Parkin’ it long-term can therefore increase your risk of obesity and even impact other factors such as insulin effectiveness and cholesterol levels.
Moreover, researchers recently discovered that walking can also help improve your memory.
So how do you stay active when your job is to stay put?
Make the city your gym
This may not be an option for everyone but if you can, try taking public transit, biking or walking to work. It may take a little longer to get to the office but along the way, you’ll get to enjoy a view outside of the typical rush hour traffic.
In addition, make an effort to take the stairs both in the city and in your office instead of the elevators or escalators. Getting a little stroll and a few climbs in before or after work is a good way to bookend your long day of sitting with some exercise.
Working in a few breaks can help you sort out your ideas and priorities. Stepping away from your work for a bit, walking outside or even around the office can help clear your head so you return more focused and energized.
One of the easiest times to step away from your desk is at lunch. It can be tempting to gobble down your lunch within the confines of your cubicle, your lunch break should be just that: a break. Getting up, stretching your limbs and meeting with coworkers for a bite to eat will help you refresh your brain.
Stretch it out
Whether it’s stretching your arms, flexing your feet or simply changing positions once in a while, stretching at your desk is the easiest way to work in a bit of movement to your work day. Additionally, the Huffington Post recommends working on perfecting your posture to deter the harmful effects of a sedentary work life.
Go talk to people instead of emailing or calling
If you need to talk to someone in the office, use it as an opportunity to get up and go talk to them. Avoid the phone and snub the e-messages. Leave your chair and walk over to meet with your coworkers in person.