Walking While You Work
With the average workweek clocking in at 47 hours, we often pride ourselves in our dedication to the office. But studies show that sitting at a desk will be the death of us. Between commutes, the comfort of our ergonomic office chairs, and the cozy sofa at the end of the workday, most of us are sitting for 11+ hours per day. As relaxing as it may seem, sitting for over 11 hours per day leads to a 40% increased chance of premature death. To add insult to injury, a sedentary lifestyle has also been shown to dumb us down.
What’s the office drone to do? Gone are the days of hunting and gathering for sustenance; most people need to sit in front of a computer to make a living. To solve this problem of imminent death to office workers, several companies have created treadmill desks, upon which one can meander through emails while meandering on a treadmill. Forget “whistle while you work“, the new zeitgeist is walking while you work!
A recent study shows that not only are walking workers healthier, but also increasingly productive over their sedentary peers. There appears to be a learning curve for most treadmill adopters, but beyond the initial drop in productivity a steady increase appears. Some reviews mention that for particularly difficult tasks, returning to a regular desk helps increase concentration. But most agree that for emails, phone calls, and other routine tasks, walking while you work is effective and even enjoyable!
The biggest hurdle for most people is the initial cost of a treadmill desk. For those who work from home, dropping $2000 on a desk that takes up twice the amount of space may not be possible. For employees in an office, an employer doesn’t necessarily want to turn the cubicles into a gym. What can you do to prevent your premature and untimely death by sitting?
Here’s five little secrets for a better workday:
1. Standing is still better than sitting.
Walking may currently be in vogue, but the anti-sitting movement started with the standing desk. Check out these excellent (and more budget-friendly) standing desks, and read about one man’s month without sitting to inspire your butt out of the chair.
2. Take a lap.
Even if you don’t have a walking desk, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy the benefits of a walking break during the workday. Studies suggest that taking a walk can boost creativity by 60%, and 15-minute breaks at the mid-morning and mid-afternoon slump can deter an hour-long Facebook rabbit trail.
3. Go out for lunch.
Studies show that successful people don’t eat lunch at their desk. Not only does the change of scenery help refresh your mind, but the act of walking to a restaurant or at least down the stairs of your office building gets your blood flowing again.
4. Don’t listen to those nagging voices: go ahead and fidget.
Your cubicle-mate may hate you for it, but a recent study found that leaner subjects tended to move around more than their overweight counterparts. Jiggling your leg, spinning in your chair, and all other annoying habits involving movement can actually add up over time. Getting up instead of rolling your chair across the office can make a difference in your “incidental” exercise total, and significantly impact your chances of heart disease and other degenerative diseases caused by a sedentary lifestyle.
5. Do some lunchtime yoga.
Yoga studios from NYC to LA have started offering a “lunch hour” class, for the more adventurous professionals with a tolerance for light perspiration. Get away from the office, reset your mind, and invigorate your body with some lunchtime vinyasa flow. There’s even a company manufacturing dress pants made from yoga-friendly material! No need to change pants for downward dog.
If you don’t want to devote your entire lunch hour to yoga or can’t get to a studio, check out this list of “yoga break” exercises to bring some om into your cubicle.
The Bottom Line Is… Move It
Regardless of your movement of choice, the important thing is to move! Our sedentary lifestyle isn’t going anywhere, but with small choices made every day we can stop the march of degenerative disease and obesity. So save the next Knote.com article you want to read for later, and go take a lap.