“We have grown used to idleness. The modern life too often asks us to sit, type, and keep off our feet, inviting the kind of sedentary lifestyle our waist lines are so better off without” says Matt Madeiro of Make Every Day Count.
Any motion is better than no motion at all. That’s the core idea behind each of these tricks, and that’s the biggest bullet point worth incorporating into your daily routine.
Your job might demand you spend a lot of time in a chair. You can’t always change that, but there’s nothing stopping you from doing your best to work within those constraints. Move – any motion is better than no motion at all.
2. Set a timer.
Most modern phones come with a built-in timer, but you can always just keep an eye on the clock if you’re not keen on the sound of an alarm. The idea, in either case, is the same: to remind yourself at regular intervals to get up out of your seat and take a quick stroll around the office.
3. Incorporate bodyweight exercises.
If you’re aiming to add a little more motion to your routine, in other words, don’t forget that you have a weight room already available. Have arms? Experiment with the Hundred Pushups program, and don’t be afraid to enjoy some wall pushups in the privacy of your own office. Have legs? Air squats, so long as you go slow and ease them into your routine, work the body like few other movements, and you don’t need more than five minutes to get the blood flowing before you’re forced to move back to your seat.
If you’re keen on setting a timer, too, this is the perfect opportunity to have a mini-workout. When that clock strikes 0, crank out 10 to 15 pushups, lunges, etc., and see how many you can collect over the course of the day. As the weeks progress, so will your totals, and so too will your overall fitness.
4. Keep walking.
You’ve heard the usual tricks: take the stairs where possible, park out as far as possible, and so forth. That’s solid advice, to be sure, but there’s no reason to stop there. Why not go further? Why not keep walking as much as possible?
When your timer goes off, pace around your office for five minutes. At the end of your lunch break, don’t sneak back to spend some time on Facebook — take a walk around your office instead, or head outside to soak up the sun while you circle the block.
When you take a phone call, don’t lean back in your chair to accept it. Pop up and move around for the duration of the call instead. In the case of long calls, this can easily—and effortlessly—add minutes of walking into your daily routine, minutes you otherwise might spend with your jaw flapping and both legs stuck motionless to the floor.
5. Take a stand.
This is revolutionary thinking, so brace yourself: standing is not sitting. It’s so far-removed in how it tasks the body, in fact, that you could call it a kind of exercise in itself (especially when stacked up next to relatively motionless hours spent in a chair). Standing desks, unfortunately, haven’t hit the mainstream, but they’re still a great start if you’re looking to tackle the core problem of the modern office: big, comfy seats, and jobs that demand we spend hours getting intimate with them.
If you’re stuck with a regular desk, however, you can still see the benefits of taking a stand. It might seem like an obvious trick, but try this: when given the choice of sitting or standing, choose standing first. When you’re visiting someone’s office, stand for a decent-sized chunk of the conversation. When you’re enjoying your lunch break, don’t be afraid to stand while you eat or prepare your meal. If you find yourself closing the door to your office for a good think, why not do it up on your feet?
When you get home from work, too, don’t immediately drop down on the couch. Stand in the kitchen while you cook, stay upright while you talk with family, and just try and delay that familiar combo of TV and couch for as long as your legs allow. A sudden increase in your standing time won’t come too easily at first, but stick with it and you’ll see your endurance rise within the span of a week.
If you’ll allow a repetition: any motion is better than no motion at all.
Remember, lastly, that exercise doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t demand three hours in the gym or long, sleepless nights on the treadmill, but it does ask you, now, to take an interest in your well-being, and to take small, steady steps toward improving your health.
Start today. Set a timer, stand when you can, and take a walk at every chance you get, and enjoy your best health.