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5 Ways for Individuals With a Desk Job to Get Movement throughout the Workday

27 June 2023

Over the years, our lifestyle has evolved from being physically active to sedentary. Today, an increasing number of people are working at their desks, driving to work, or working remotely. After the work is done, they lie down and use their favorite digital gadget. Moreover, for many individuals with a desk job, going to the gym after work is often not a viable option.

In such a state of daily affairs, where is the time to get some movement?

As lifestyles continue to become increasingly sedentary, people today are experiencing various health conditions more than ever. Type II diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases have turned into an epidemic. Moreover, an increasing part of the population has a much higher risk of developing various types of cancers, and musculoskeletal health conditions, thanks to sitting for long hours.

While working at a desk is the new normal, let's not forget that human bodies are designed for movement. Without adequate movement, our joints, muscles, and tendons may wear out much more quickly. Moreover, the body and its organs are more prone to developing several other health conditions mentioned earlier due to a sedentary lifestyle.

Fortunately, there are ways to incorporate movement into your workday, even if you have a desk job that requires you to spend 8-10 hours in a sitting position every day. In what follows, we look at five simple ways for individuals with a desk job to get sufficient movement throughout their workday, but before we get started, here's a brief overview of why movement is important.

Why is Movement the Key to a Healthy Lifestyle?

The human body is performed several tasks even when the body is physically at rest. Some of these activities include metabolism, breathing, heartbeat, etc. A large portion of the energy consumed by the body is used by these types of activities, referred to as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). These activities include any type of physical activity, such as walking or fidgeting, which cannot be considered a workout yet contributes to consuming calories.

The Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis helps balance the energy intake and output which is essential for maintaining a healthy body weight. In individuals with an active lifestyle, NEAT contributes up to 50% of the total energy expenditure, whereas it accounts for only up to 10% of energy usage among individuals with a sedentary lifestyle.

Let's not forget that a sedentary lifestyle is the root cause of various lifestyle-related health issues, including heart diseases, diabetes, heart failure, stroke, mental health conditions, and various types of cancers.

The positive news is that by adding a little more movement to your day, you can combat the health implications of a sedentary lifestyle. And your movement doesn't always have to revolve around the gym and parks.

Are you wondering how you can incorporate movement into your workday if you have a desk job that doesn't leave you enough time and energy to go for a walk or workout?

Let's find out in the next section.

5 Ways for Individuals with a Desk Job to Get Movement Throughout the Workday

Adding movement into your day doesn't always have to be time-consuming. Also, you can get some movement before the end of your workday. There are several ways you can try out at your workplace to get movement throughout the day.

#1. Schedule Regular Movement Breaks Throughout the Day

When you are working for long hours, say for a 9-5 job, it's critical that you schedule several short breaks into your workday. It's recommended that you take a 5 to 10 minutes break every 30-40 minutes. Use this break to get up from your desk, get some light stretches, move around and take a quick walk around the office. If you are a remote worker with a desk job working from home, you can also walk around, grab a glass of water, and do some stretching exercises.

A quick walk around will help you combat the adverse effects of prolonged sitting, including ease of pain, discomfort, stiffness, and muscular stress.

Moreover, a quick walk or some light stretches can also help increase your body; energy consumption contributes to maintaining a healthy weight. According to research, even short, 3-minute movement breaks, when taken every 30 minutes, can help fight the negative implications of prolonged sitting. Some of the effects include more stable blood sugar levels, reduced "bad" (LDL) cholesterol levels, and improved fasting blood sugar.

#2. Walk Around Your Room When on Call

Apart from working on the screen, today's jobs depend heavily on virtual communication. Through calls and virtual meetings, it's common for employees from different geographical locations to connect and discuss organizational problems.

One of the lesser-recognized benefits of virtual meetings is that it gives you enough flexibility to move around while you are on the call.

If you have an office cubicle, you can walk around your workspace while you are on the call and use this time to burn calories, improve your metabolism and counter all the negative implications of prolonged sitting.

Many offices today have designated spaces for virtual meetings. If that is the set-up in your workspace, you can use the space to walk around and get some movement throughout your workday. Doing so can even be more convenient if you are remotely working as you enjoy the freedom to walk around your room or house when in a virtual meeting and reap the health benefits of movement.

#3. Set Up an Ergonomic Movement Workstation

If you are a remote worker with a desk job and can switch your regular desk set-up, invest in a height-adjustable standing desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing and vice versa. Changing your position multiple times during the day will allow you to burn more calories, as your body tends to burn more calories when standing than sitting.

A height-adjustable standing workstation is a viable solution for employees who cannot stand and work all day, as prolonged standing, like prolonged sitting, brings its own set of physical challenges.

The other modification that you can try out at your workstation is to replace your conventional ergonomic office chair with a desk bike.

A desk bike makes an amazing investment for your workstation as it allows you to get some movement while you are still at work. It allows you to multitask and better utilize your time at work, so you don't have to worry about going to the gym or getting some physical activity following your workday. Moreover, using a desk bike at work boosts cardio fitness and strengthens your lungs and muscles. It improves oxygen circulation in your body, which brings several health benefits, including;

Enhanced immune system,

Decreased stress levels,

Normalized blood pressure and

Improved sleep.

Alongside, working out on a desk bike facilitates in eliminating body fat, improves blood cholesterol levels, and strengthens your lower back and leg muscles so they better support your body.

If you are convinced about the health benefits that working out on a desk bike brings, you must be wondering which desk bike to go for.

Deskcise Pro V9 by Flexispot makes one of the top choices of desk bikes for your workstation that brings you the ease of movement while you are still at work. Featuring superior comfort seat, digital display, and various resistance levels, this fitness bike is what you need to stay fit and healthy even when you have a desk job.

#4. Take Advantage of the Stairs

If your office building has several floors, instead of using an elevator, take the stairs. By climbing stairs, you burn a lot more calories than standing or walking at a low pace. Moreover, stair climbing involves the use of several muscle groups and joints that aid in enhancing your muscle strength and flexibility. Together, you can get the advantage of improved fitness when you use stairs instead of an elevator.

#5. Wear Comfortable Shoes to Work

To make the most of all the opportunities to move around during your workday, it's best to invest in and wear comfortable shoes to work. Wearing comfortable footwear allows you to move easily, which can aid in improving your motivation and desire to move around more while you are still at work.

Final Words

A lack of movement due to prolonged sitting at work can lead to several health consequences ranging from obesity to musculoskeletal concerns and increased risk of several other health conditions.

Although it may feel challenging to incorporate movement in your everyday life if you have a desk job, you can conveniently increase your activity during the day by trying out the above-mentioned tips.

You don't have to try all of them at once, but you can gradually keep adding a habit or two so your body can gently get used to increased movement and enjoy better health.