As you read this, are you sitting down? Or are you standing upright, perhaps at a counter or standing desk? Or are you multi-tasking on an elliptical? Chances are, you’re sitting down. As were we when we wrote this article. And as we likely again are.
Many daily activities — like office work, watching TV, reading, computer time, making lists, writing cards — are typically performed sitting down. Which doesn’t seem very troublesome, especially if you work out regularly and maintain an ideal weight.
But, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins, exercise isn’t enough. Being too sedentary throughout the day can increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Regular activity throughout the day is a crucial element of maintaining good health.
Johns Hopkins recommends the following guidelines for daily activity: five minutes of exercise every hour; 10,000 steps a day (not all at once); and at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise three to five times a week.
RVNA couldn’t agree more. Doug D’Jay, IT Manager, who helps configure work stations for RVNA staff, is the model of an active office worker himself. “I stand at my ergonomically-designed desk four hours a day, and have been doing so for over four years,” says D’Jay. “And I encourage others to do the same. I also have been walking 30 minutes on my lunch break since 1996.” D’Jay also makes phone calls and performs other routine tasks on the move.
While we may not all be as dedicated as D’Jay (at least at first) – working while walking is a learned art — here are some general tips for insinuating more activity into your day: stand while working; eat lunch standing up; take brief fitness breaks every hour; trade your desk chair for a fitness ball; schedule walking meetings if/when appropriate; keep fitness gear at work (i.e. weights, resistance bands); and, of course, use stairs, rather than elevators.