Once upon a time, the thought of a “dangerous job” brought to mind the likes of coal miners and parachute testers.
But now, with countless studies linking sedentary jobs to ailments like obesity, heart disease, back conditions and even cancer, we now know your sit-down job could be an even bigger health hazard than your base jumping hobby.
And so, it’s a worrying fact that over 80% of America’s workforce is now tied down to a sedentary job - that’s an 83% increase since 1950!
But before you hand in that resignation letter, try these 8 tips to keep yourself energized and healthy, even if you’re sitting down all day:
1. Sit less, stand more
By now you’ve probably heard of the health risks of sitting down all day, and how a standing desk is far better for your posture, weight and cardiovascular health.
Just remember: While there is considerable proof that these benefits are real, it’s also important to get your stand-up routine right, which includes not standing all day, and making sure to still move around.
2. The 30-minute challenge
When you’re stuck in a chair all day, it’s easy to forget to get up and just move. So why not set an alarm on your cellphone for every 30 minutes, reminding you to engage in a couple minutes of physical activity?
Whether it’s lunges, pushups, squats or jumping jacks - just choose the exercise and intensity level you’re most comfortable with (and remember to mix things up for maximum results).
3. The walk-and-talk
Speaking of your phone, how’s this for a new habit: Every time you answer your phone, get up and walk for as long as you’re talking on it.
Even if you’re just doing laps in a small office, you’ll be surprised at the distance you can cover over a short conversation.
Stretching can help you avoid some of the worst sit-down job hazards - like searing neck, hand, shoulder and back pain.
It’s a great idea to stretch your different body parts every couple of hours! You can even use your office furniture as makeshift stretching equipment.
5. Take a (proper) lunch break
According to a 2012 survey by Right Management, only one in five workers regularly takes a lunch break away from their desk.
So why not walk to a nearby restaurant? Or if you’ve brought lunch from home, walk to a nearby park and enjoy it there. You might even have time for a quick walk right after.
6. Drink plenty of water
It’s easy to forget you’re thirsty when you’re sitting down in an air-conditioned office all day. Try keeping a bottle of water at your desk, and set a reminder to drink from it every couple of hours.
7. Standing meetings
Why settle for a standing desk when you can have standing meetings?
In fact, why settle for standing meetings when you can have walking or even dancing meetings? Just saying :-)
Wait a minute, how does sitting still help you avoid the dangers of… sitting still? Well, your mind is in a far more relaxed, content and positive state when you’re meditating, compared to when you’re sitting down working.
One of the biggest benefits of meditation is it dramatically reduces the cortisol stress hormone in your body, which is responsible for weight gain, high cholesterol, heart disease, and various other illnesses associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Is getting (and staying) in shape a constant uphill battle?
A sedentary job is one challenge… but what if your own mind is quietly conspiring to keep you overweight, drained and unhealthy?
Thanks to modern neuroscience, we now know that 99% of people are held back by one of three ’subconscious weight loss saboteurs’.
From inside your mind, these saboteurs assault your habits, urges and emotions - and make it nearly impossible to lose weight and keep it off, no matter what diet or fitness plan you try.
The good news is, uncovering your subconscious weight loss saboteur is easy - and so is erasing it, once you know how:
Got any more tips on staying fit and healthy in a sedentary job? Share your best ones below :)
Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.