September 8, 2020 – Reading time: 4 minutes
Sitting down for brief periods can help us unwind from stress or recover from exercise. But nowadays, our lifestyles make us sit much more than we should. Most of the time, we are not getting the habitual exercise and range of motion we need to keep us healthy and fit. In this article, we would like to provide you with some tips on how to include movement in your work routine.
How long do you usually sit in a day? You move from the breakfast table to the car to your desk where you remain for several hours. Back to the car, home to the sofa. German health insurance companies have found out that office workers sit around 11 hours a day. That means two thirds of Germans move less than one hour a day and only cover about 1000 meters.
But what are the consequences of excessive sitting? A supposedly comfortable sitting posture causes the abdominal muscles to relax. The back becomes rounded and an uneven load is placed on the intervertebral discs. Digestive and respiratory organs are trapped. Muscle tensions develop, the cardiovascular system is not sufficiently trained and muscles atrophy. Backache and headaches, herniated discs, problems with digestion or mental illness can follow.
Our body needs regular exercise for physiological processes such as digestion and the cardiovascular system to function optimally. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults take at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of activity, such as jogging.
On a side note: Sitting relieves the strain on the heart compared to standing, and the reduced strain on the body releases capacities for the head. Only sitting enables us to achieve top mental performance. The only thing is we overdo it. In this article, we will therefore provide you with practical tips on how to make your everyday working life more flexible and thus do something good for yourself and your body.
- Integrate short movement units into your day: making phone calls standing up, visiting your colleague at his desk instead of writing an e-mail or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Try out creative meeting solutions: Meetings in a standing position are more dynamic and are automatically shorter. Or something a little more unusual: meet your colleagues for a walking meeting.
- Use a bar table: you can playfully incorporate balancing exercises such as rotating ankles, shaking legs or standing on your toes and bouncing.
- Stick to the 40-15-5 rule: sit for 40 minutes, stand for 15 minutes and move for 5 minutes – then it starts all over again. After all, the interplay between stress and relaxation of different muscles is crucial for healthy work. An alarm clock can help you to keep the times.
- You are going by car? Then park a little further away. Or get off one stop earlier if you are commuting by bus.
- Meet your colleagues for a moving break. The lunch break after lunch is perfect for this.
- Start the evening with a small exercise ritual: stretch intensively, mobilize your shoulders and neck and/or run around the block for 15 minutes at a brisk pace.
I hope you take the time every day to strengthen and move your body the way nature intended. Fun fact: your body is a locomotor system and not an advertising pillar.
If you have any questions or you would like to tell me about your experiences with the exercises, we are happy to hear from you.