Why exercising is important, especially if you have a desk job

Why exercising is important if you have a desk job

Do you spend a good majority of your day just sitting and staring at a screen - whether at work or home? 

Do you often ditch your lunch buddies, and instead opt for a brown bagged meal, because avalanche of emails has consumed you in its madness?

If your answer is in the affirmative, you should know that these are all grave signs of a “serial sitter”. Serial sitters are otherwise known as the vast majority of our working-class people and can be found in any 9-5 job. These serial sitters tend to remain oblivious to the gravity of how they are letting their lives pass, with fleeting passing moment, just sitting.

Desk jobs might look harmless - being tied to your desk from the moment you walk into your office, till the time you clock out. Not moving a muscle for 8-9 hours at a stretch, and indulging in the ”work now exercise later” routine might have you thinking that it is not a big deal. Some of you might even put forth an argument about how you devote most nights, if not all, to steamy sessions on the Stairmaster.

Over the years, as the world became more conscious of its health and well being, there have been a number of researches that validate that office culture can get toxic in the long run, and take a toll on one’s health. The University of Cambridge had released a study which claimed that post-twelve years of research, it was concluded that twice as many deaths could be attributed, and linked back to the pandemic of inactivity when compared with the number of obesity causing deaths.

Active Couch Potato Phenomenon

European Heart Journal found that sitting for extended periods of time can lead to a higher susceptibility to health risks like artery blockage and low levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL). The research further stated that all the subjects did indulge in vigorous exercise, but only after their basic office timings. This phenomenon was coined as the ‘Active Couch Potato’.

The golden employee who does invest a little time exercising - runs to works, or catches an hour of the gym, but is otherwise found binge-watching The Bachelor marathons on the couch.

What can be done if a great majority of one’s waking hours plastered to a screen?

Read More - Let’s get you up and running! 5 health tips for working professionals

You like to Move it?

Dr. Genevieve Healy, a research fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia offered her insight on the subject and added that even the slightest changes in your work routine can be impactful. Standing up for a minute between rigorous work, to stretch, could help lower health risks. As it is such a menial course of action your boss will not interfere either. “It is likely that regular breaks in prolonged sitting time could be readily incorporated into the working environment without any detrimental impact on productivity,'' she explained.

Baby steps towards a better living will make a difference in the long run. Adopt a new workplace mantra- “stand up, move more, more often.''

Read More - Four Things You Should Do For A Healthy Heart

Here are some tips on how that level of movement can be incorporated into your daily schedule:

  • Stand up to take phone calls

Utilize every little opportunity. Do not kick up your feet on your desk, instead of stand and chatter away! Take it up a notch and do a couple of stretching exercises as well.

  • Drag yourself out of that chair

Next time you pick up the phone, to call up on a colleague for some petty work, walk to them instead. When you start to fire off an email, take a stroll down the hallway, and talk in person.

  • Have “standing” meetings

Removing chairs from shorter catch-ups, or meetings, so that everyone has to be on their feet will be complete with two advantages. One, the meeting we kept minimal, as everyone is standing; two, this will allow you to attain those minutes of much-needed stretching. 

  • The different floor technique

 When you need to use the restroom or the vending machine, take the stairs to the level above or below you, and work those glutes!

  • Farther the better

Rearrange a few supplies such as trash bins and printers so they’re off of your desk and in another location—that you will have to walk to.

  • Sit-Stand desks, the future?

If it is within your capacity to switch furniture at work, take advantage of the situation, and get a taste of the future! Sit-Stand desks are said to increase productivity, lift mood levels, and decrease health risks.

Sitting - a dated concept?

Fitness is trending and being fit is the new it thing. Modern building structures are designed in a manner that encourages them to walk, rather than take the easy way out. Installing slower elevators, while placing attractive staircases to encourage employees to walk, is a great way to start.

It is suggested that one should progressively increase the amount of activity they partake. Start small, with 15 minutes a day, and increase it consistently, till you reach the recommended moderate activity of 150 minutes per week.

Good things take time, you cannot expect to taste the glorified feeling of “being fit” overnight. Build and work on yourself consistently - walk that pathway to the new you.

Apr 8/19

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