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Get that Body Moving – Walking, Standing, Stairs, MORE!

benefits of walking around the officeThis week, I am celebrating movement. After being sick for over a week, I finally got moving again two days ago with some boot-camp style workouts at my local gym. Since I work from home, I typically have the freedom to go to the gym workout at home. I know not all of you have that same benefit when you are busy with kids at home or at the office. So, let’s review ways to get moving without formal exercise classes or workouts.

How much do you walk throughout the day? Have you ever measured your steps with a pedometer? I highly recommend giving one a try. I was pretty good about using mine last summer, but I slacked for a while and I know I am sitting at my laptop and NOT moving too often. So, I’m taking my pedometer out today to see how much I move in my average day. Hopefully it being on my hip will remind me to get away from my desk and walk a bit more often. I’ve even configured a stand-up laptop station so that I’m off my booty for more of the day too.

Anyway, I’m blathering on a bit, the main point I wanted to make was about the benefits of walking. Some folks think it’s fine to sit nearly all day and have a burst of fitness in one workout maybe 3 times a week. While this is better than nothing, it’s not enough, not by a long shot.

Researchers are beginning to suspect that even if you engage in regular exercise daily, it may not be enough to counteract the effects of too much sitting during the rest of the day. According to a recent article on NPR.org:

Epidemiologist Steven Blair, a professor of public health at the University of South Carolina, has spent 40 years investigating physical activity and health.

“Let’s say you do 30 minutes of walking five days a week (as recommended by federal health officials), and let’s say you sleep for eight hours,” Blair says. “Well, that still leaves 15.5 hours” in the day.

People who regularly break up their sedentary time with movement had healthier waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), and triglycerides than people who didn’t take breaks during long periods of sitting. That’s what Australian researchers found in a 2008 study.

But how to make a habit out of taking breaks? Toni Yancey’s Instant Recess book offers the following suggestions for people who feel chained to their office desks:

  • Take a 10-minute activity break at a scheduled time every day.
  • Park farther away from the places where you work, shop, play, study and worship
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Put printers a short walking distance away from your work or study space instead of right next to it.
  • Replace desk chairs with stability balls — or use a standing desk to get rid of the chair entirely — to burn more calories while working.
  • Fidget, stand up and stretch at intervals during meetings.

Consider adding a measurement tool like a pedometer to really help you know how much movement you are getting. Start a challenge in your office where a group shares their daily steps. Creating a healthy competition can be another great motivator. What other ideas do you have? Share them!

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  2. Sallie says:

    Great post! It is very important to make it a point throughout the day to get up and walk around, especially for those who hold office positions where they are most likely sitting all day. It does make a difference. I want a treadmill working station πŸ™‚

    Have a great day

  3. I just wrote a 30 day workout plan on the principles and methods you have cited here…It literally begins with walking to the mailbox in of sending the kids, parking at the back of the lot, using the stairs not the escalator, etc and builds to walking around the block, then 2x then adding beginning to add boght exercise….getting started is the hardest part…but with persistance, you’ll feel the results and you’ll form a new normal of an active lifestyle! Great article.

  4. Great one Jenn. We all only have 24HRS in a day. So thought put into maximizing the value in our tasks is very important. Some tasks need our complete focus. Other tasks can be combined. For example listening to business podcasts while driving makes traffic a pleasure. If you work in a building on the tenth floor, you can take the stairs every time. I always try to take the stairs regardless. I often find that I get to the destination floor before my companions who had to stand around in the line, then get coughed on in the elevator…

  5. I love all the instant recess tips. I also like the idea of the stability ball. Maybe I”ll try it at home!

  6. I know I need to become more active but there really isn’t anywhere around here to walk that isn’t a busy or very fast moving traffic street.

  7. mel says:

    I am really trying to be more active yet. I just got the fit tracker and it is working wonders. I play tennis twice a week but now am trying for my first 5K!

  8. Missy says:

    Unfortunately I have a sedentary job and I cannot even modify to change it much more than I already have. Hopefully I’ll find a new job in the future.

  9. I trend to do my workout in one shot because I never know if I’ll haves more time, but this makes me rethink things.

  10. what a great challenge and great way of thinking outside the box to get workouts in

  11. Margo says:

    I really love my standing desk and swear by it.

  12. Dawn says:

    I like that idea of using a stability ball at your desk! Thanks!

    Dawn

  13. Jenna Wood says:

    I use a pedometer, and always take the furthest parking spot (unless it’s late at night and unsafe), and walk the stairs!

  14. Teresha says:

    adults need recess too. love these tips for budgeting activity throughout the day

  15. Paulin says:

    I LOVE the idea of an office challenge. We had a challenge once at a school where I worked. All the participants got together, raised the money to hire a personal trainer (which came out to around $25 each a month) and started a “fitness program” after school. Once classes were over we would all go to the track and train. Not only did we get in shape but we all got a lot closer as co-workers as well.

  16. Good ideas – I really need to figure out more things I can do at work

  17. I love being active!! I hate sitting… I work out every day for almost two hours and sometimes more, I bought a desk to put on top of my desk so I can stand when I am at my computer and I always walk rather than drive if I can (who wants to drive a quarter of a mile in LA… which would probably take LONGER than walking, lol!!!) Activity makes me feel so happy and healthy πŸ™‚

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