Americans are working more than ever before, but we’re also sitting more than ever before. In fact, a whopping 86 percent of Americans spend the entirety of their workday sitting down.
It may not seem like it at first, but dentistry is a pretty sedentary job. You may not be sitting at a desk all day, but you still probably spend more time sitting than is ideal.
Read on to learn more about the risks of being sedentary. We’re also sharing some great tips that will help you to be more active during the day.
Risks of Working a Sedentary Job
There are a lot of risks associated with sitting all day. In fact, some experts have even gone so far as to call sitting the “new smoking.” What is it about sitting that’s so bad, though?
Research shows that sitting for prolonged periods of time increases an individual’s risk of developing a number of diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Excessive sitting can also lead to back pain and other physical aches and pains.
Sitting for more than 11 hours per day can increase your risk of death in the next three years by 40 percent.
Workers who hold sedentary roles for more than ten years also have double the risk of developing colon cancer compared to people who have more active jobs.
Even if you exercise regularly, prolonged sitting has still been linked to a shorter lifespan. So, what’s the solution?
In short, you need to find ways to make your job less sedentary and more active. Look for ways to break up long periods of sitting with short bursts of activity.
How to Stay Active at Your Sedentary Job
Are you at a loss as to how you can make your job more active? Don’t worry. These tips are easy to implement into your routine so you can move more during your workday.
Walk While You Talk
Whenever you take a phone call, talk while walking around the office. You can even walk in place if your phone has a cord and you can’t venture too far from your desk. Don’t sit down until the conversation is over.
You can even mix up your walks with simple bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, or calf raises. Even if you only have a few ten-minute phone conversations throughout the day, that’s still more exercise than you would have gotten otherwise!
Split Up Your Lunch Break
If you spend your whole lunch break sitting down, you’re missing out on some valuable exercise time. Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to trade lunch for working out — you can have the best of both worlds.
Spend the first half of your lunch break eating. Then, spend the second half walking around (preferably outside).
This gives you an opportunity to stretch your legs and come back to work feeling refreshed and ready to help more patients.
Walking after eating can also promote better digestion and improve insulin sensitivity, meaning you’ll be less likely to experience a blood sugar crash (the dreaded 2 p.m. slump) later on.
Turn Your Office into a Mini Gym
If walking starts to get old, try mixing up your walks with other forms of exercise. Investing in a few pieces of inexpensive fitness equipment can provide you with many more options.
Some of the best fitness tools to have on hand include:
- Resistance bands
- Jump ropes
- Stability balls
These tools are easy to stash in a corner of the office and pull out when you need a little workout break.
Hold Walking or Standing Meetings
In addition to walking while you’re on the phone, you might also want to consider walking during office meetings.
If you need to talk to a member of your staff (or your whole team), ask them to accompany you on a walk around the block or around the building.
It might seem strange at first to conduct a meeting while walking. But, you’ll likely find that you and your employees are more engaged in the meeting if you’re moving around while it takes place.
Walk to and from Work
Think about it. If you have a thirty-minute commute, that means you’re adding an extra hour of sitting to your already sedentary work day.
If at all possible, try to walk or bike to work. Not only will you get some extra movement in, but you’ll also be reducing your carbon footprint.
You can also take public transportation and get off the bus or train a stop or two early. If nothing else, you can park your car farther away from the office so you have to walk a little farther.
Set up Office Challenges
It can be easier (and more fun) to stay active if you can get other people involved, too. Try setting up office challenges to encourage your coworkers to move more during the day.
Challenge everyone to walk a certain number of steps per day, or challenge them to complete one exercise from a list of exercises displayed near your mini office gym.
Take the Stairs
If you work in an office building that has an elevator, skip it and take the stairs instead. The elevator is tempting, especially when you’re running late.
But, taking the stairs is probably the easiest way you can get your heart rate up during the day. It doesn’t take up that much time, and you’ll feel better after doing it.
Do Mini Workouts in Between Appointments
Finally, take advantage of the time between appointments to do mini workouts.
Do some squats, lunges, or biceps curls. Or, you can simply do a few stretches — your body will probably love them after you’ve been hunched over a patient.
These short bursts of exercise add up during the day. Remember, everything counts!
Looking for More Ways to Stay Healthy at Work?
Working a sedentary job can take a toll on your body. But, if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll have an easier time staying and active and staving off the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
If you’re looking for more ways that you can improve your health in the workplace, you may want to consider focusing on your office setup.
Check out this article for some great tips that will make your office more ergonomically correct.