American workers spend 21 hours a day being sedentary, and only three hours being active, according to research from Ergotron and research firm Research Now. In fact, 86 percent of respondents said that they sit “all day, every day,” despite the fact that 70 percent said they hate sitting. Worst of all, more than half of those surveyed said that when they do get up, they use “getting food” as an excuse. Given that most companies aren’t going to shell out for treadmill desks for everyone, is there any way to minimize the amount of sitting we’re doing?
(Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver/Flickr)
We’re probably not going to transform our workdays into training sessions, but with a little creativity, we can overcome the habit of slumping in our chairs all day. Some cheaper ways to do this include:
1. Building your own standing desk.
Skip the pricey kits, and build a desk out of what you have on hand. Brandon Keepers at opensoul.org offers DIY instructions that will run you $40, but we’ve seen people cobble together improvised desks from stacks of dictionaries or cubicle shelving. Remember, you don’t need to stand all day to get the benefits. Simply having an option to alternate with your static chair will help vary your posture and remind you to engage your core.
2. Setting an alarm.
Want to avoid eye strain and a sore back? Set an alarm (think silent Outlook reminder, not buzzing alarm clock app) and get up every 20 minutes to a half an hour. Just don’t use it as an excuse to visit the vending machine. If you absolutely have to bribe yourself with snacks in order to get up, bring fruit and veggies from home. That way, when you do indulge in a candy bar, it’ll be because you wanted it, not because you couldn’t think of another reason to get up from your chair.
3. Getting outside.
It’s pretty chilly in the northern hemisphere right now, but you still need your vitamin D — not to mention a break from your computer now and then. At least once a day, especially when it’s sunny, use your break to get outside and walk around for a bit. The fresh air will do you good. You might even notice that you’re more productive after your constitutional.
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