by Sarah Buron, Bradshaw & Bryant

While sedentary lifestyles are prevalent, they take a toll on our productivity and health. Our bodies are meant to move. Sitting down all day increases our risk of heart disease and weight gain. Planning lifestyle changes can be overwhelming. It is best to start small and make sure your goals are realistic.

  1. Be mindful of what you’re eating and drinking. One thing you have control over is what you consume every day. You do not need to change your diet completely. Start by making small changes, like replacing a can of soda with a glass of water and choosing foods or snacks that will help fuel you and not drain you. Restaurant food is okay but view it as a treat instead of a daily occurrence. Skip that fast food line and prepare a nutritious meal the night before. Your body will thank you!
  2. Move your body every hour. Make a plan to get up from your desk each hour. It could be to the copy machine, to fill up your water bottle or to a colleague’s desk rather than picking up the phone to call them. Every step counts, so feel free to set a timer as a reminder for when you get busy. Another option is to use a fitness and activity tracker to remind you when it is time to move.
  3. Utilize a stand-up desk. There is no need to stand for the entire day, but an hour or two a day will make a world of difference, especially if you cannot take short walk breaks at your job. Alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.
  4. If you have a base fitness level, other great options could be a treadmill desk or replacing your chair with an exercise ball. An exercise ball will engage your core and help in maintaining good posture. When you cannot get up from your desk and walk, focus on stretching and posture. Examples include leg raises, neck stretches, toe touches or shoulder raises. Most of these can be done while seated in your chair and will revitalize your mind and body.
  5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Aim for at least half your bodyweight in ounces of water daily. Find a good reusable water bottle to keep with you at all times. Taking sips throughout the day is key to replenishing lost fluids and maintaining proper hydration.
  6. Take time for lunch. While some days may call for a desk lunch, getting away from your office gives your mind rest. Allowing your brain a chance to get a break will improve your productivity.
  7. Prioritize getting a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep can leave you at risk for health issues and can also affect your overall work performance.

Many of us spend eight hours a day at our desks, sit in the car for our drive home and then sit on the couch in the evening. It is essential to keep in mind the things you can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle while having a sedentary job. It takes some work, butit is possible!