We’ve all read about long flights on aeroplanes causing DVTs, but new research shows that sitting down for long periods of time anywhere is bad for your health. In fact, experts say it can lead to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. So if you sit at a desk all day but want to be fitter and healthier, here are a few simple things you can do now!
Extend your journey
If you drive to work park in the furthest corner of the car park. If you get the bus, get off a stop early and walk a bit further. Even small changes like this can make a big difference. And if you walk for 10 minutes three times a day most days, it’s enough to qualify you as a regular exerciser!
Get on your feet
A 30 minute walk after a meal will cut the amount of fat you store by using it to fuel your exercise. Walking is also very good for your heart and lungs and it works the muscles of the lower body. But you need to put some effort in – if you aren’t feeling sweaty then you’ll need to walk a bit faster! Give yourself a goal, even if it’s only 10 minutes on the first day. Push yourself a little further each week.
Ditch the email
Do you email workmates who sit near you? Then go and talk to them instead! Do you sit back while your colleagues make the tea? Make it yourself! These small changes can make a huge difference to your overall daily activity. They could also make you better at your job. Face-to-face conversations are a far better way to communicate than email.
Change your routine
Changing your routine can be difficult at first, so writing notes for yourself is a good way to remind you that you’re trying something different. Sitting still for hours on end is very bad for your circulation and can increase your chances of getting DVT (deep vein thrombosis). The best way to avoid this is to move around.
That doesn’t mean constantly walking around – you’d never get any work done! But try standing up when you’re talking on the phone or rotate your ankles under the desk.
Practising deep, controlled breathing can help you lose weight because you have to exert a lot of pressure on the muscles around your middle, especially the diaphragm. Don’t know where your diaphragm is? Cough and you’ll feel your diaphragm push out. Hold your hand over it. If you’re breathing properly you shoul feel it move in and out as you breathe. Deep, steady breathing will also help you stay more alert.
Take the stairs
If you work in an office, walking up stairs could be the best exercise you get all day. Walking uphill uses more energy than walking on the flat, it’s also a great aerobic exercise (which means it gets your heart beating fast) and it’s cheaper than going to the gym. Use the stairs every day for two months and we promise you’ll notice a big difference in your fitness levels. And the fitter you are, the more
energy you’ll have to tackle even more stairs!
Sit up straight
Maintaining a good posture with your tummy tucked in will help ward off back problems, which office workers are particularly prone to, and it can stop you developing a flabby middle too. Clench and release stomach and buttock muscles while you sit. It’s simple and it really helps to keep you toned.
Start wiggling your toes and fingers and tapping your feet. Fidgeting can burn enough energy to help you lose weight and it can have a more powerful effect on body shape than exercise. Scientists have discovered that overweight people sit still for two-and-a-half hours longer each day than normal weight people. This means that they burn 350 fewer calories per day – the equivalent of a half hour run.
Bring your own lunch
It will save a fortune and it keep you away from the work canteen. But don’t eat your lunch at your desk. Get out of the office – you deserve a break. Bring in your own snack bag too so you’re not tempted by the cake shop next door to the office.
Ditch the coffee
An average coffee shop cappuccino contains around 170 calories and won’t fill you up. Swap it for a cup of green tea which has many health benefits. It can boost your immune system and help you fight headaches, depression and even cancer. Some people swear it helps them lose weight too.