When you're stuck at a desk in the office all day, it can be easy to let your physical fitness start to slide. One too many lunches out or post-work gym sessions skipped and you might notice the extra pounds start to creep up on you. "Sitting disease" is characterized by shrinking muscle mass, weight gain, fatigue, sluggishness, and an overall decline in cardiovascular health—and it plagues many office workers.
How can you avoid succumbing to sitting disease? Find ways to get fit at the office, without even going to the gym! Here's how.
Have a good attitude.
First thing first: be optimistic! If you believe it's possible to get fit in the office without going to the gym, you'll find ways to make it happen, and more importantly, you'll make time for it in your schedule. Getting fit in the office is totally possible, but you have to make an effort to form new habits and adjust your routine.
Follow the 15/45 rule.
While sitting for too long during the day will increase your risk of sitting disease, standing too much isn't that great for you either—it can increase joint pain by placing a strain on your back and knees. Experts agree that the best ratio is to spend about 15 minutes standing every hour and the other 45 minutes sitting comfortably with good posture.
The easiest way to follow the 15/45 rule is with a height-adjustable sit-stand desk. Some models, like the FlexiSpot Electric Height Adjustable Desk, also come with built-in sit-stand reminder systems, so you don't have to worry about getting so absorbed in your work that you forget to stand up (or sit down).
Take active breaks.
You don't have to skip the water cooler, but save it for after you spend a few minutes engaging in some light exercise. If you don't have time to dedicate a full hour to the gym after work, try squeezing in short 10- or 15-minute bursts of light exercise throughout the day.
There are many exercises you can perform at your desk—as calf raises, leg curls, or shoulder presses—or you can use a low-impact piece of exercise equipment designed for the office, like the V9 Desk Bike or the Mini Stepper. The Mini Stepper is a compact Swivel Elliptical Trainer that operates using two hydraulic cylinders that create a stepping motion. This low-impact, portable elliptical machine allows you to strengthen your leg and thigh muscles and reach your daily step goals from the convenience of your office.
Grow plants in your office.
You might not think plants would have an impact on your physical fitness, but plants have some sneaky benefits that will make you feel healthier and more alert at work! Participants in a 2010 study by the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia reported a 37% reduction in tension and anxiety along with with a 38% decrease in fatigue when they had planted at their desks. Meanwhile, a 2014 report published by the University of Exeter found that employees' productivity improved by 15% when plants were introduced to their workspace. The takeaway? Plants can help you feel more focused, motivated, and relaxed—all of which will help you stay committed to a new office fitness routine.
Getting fit at the office won't happen by accident, but if you make healthy habits part of your daily routine, you'll successfully avoid the side effects of sitting disease without any problem.