Becoming more active can feel like an intimidating task, but including more movement in your day doesn’t have to be difficult. Exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses and have significant benefits for your mental health. The NHS says that adults should ‘aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better than still’.
With office based work already a big contributing factor to a sedentary lifestyle for many of us, research shows that lockdown may have exacerbated this.
The good news is that there a many simple ways to include more movement in your day. Below are a few ideas to get you started.
Walk or cycle
Walking, running and cycling became popular activities in 2020 as many people strove to stay active whilst remaining at home. Restrictions may be changing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep up the good habit.
Walking or cycling to work is an excellent way to get more exercise. One of the main barriers to active commuting is time, but research has shown most people overestimate the time their commute would take. Challenge yourself to try an active mode of travel for a week and see if you notice any benefits. If this isn’t possible, then even parking your car further from the shops or office is a good way to increase your steps.
Staying hydrated is one of the most important ways to keep healthy. We all know that water is essential to life, but drinking enough fluids helps regulate body temperature, improve sleep quality, cognition and mood.
Having a re-useable bottle to hand is always a good idea, but whilst you’re at work why not try drinking from a glass instead. Getting up for a re-fill from the kitchen will increase your activity, rest your eyes away from your screen and improve concentration.
There are plenty of apps that can help remind you to move around and/or drink more, but using an old fashioned post-it works just as well. Aim to drink around 2 litres every day.
Explore your surroundings
Not all buildings are designed with activity in mind, but there’s always a way to get in a little more movement. Move to a different area for breaks, walk around when on the phone or take it in turns to collect the post. Using the stairs instead of the lift might sound like a cliché but its an effective way to take more steps.
Another alternative is to say good bye to Zoom Fatigue once and for all with a walking meeting. Walking meetings are shown to help employees un-plug, improving creativity and increasing energy levels. With social distancing measures still in place, this could be a practical as well as healthy solution.
Update your workstation
With all the active working advice in the world, even the most conscientious person might still find themselves sitting for the majority of the day. Luckily, there are ways of introducing more movement just with the workstation equipment we choose.
Any prolonged static posture, whether that’s sitting or standing, should be avoided. Using a standing desk is a great way to increase your daily activity. We would recommend building your standing time gradually, eventually alternating between the two every 20 minutes. Awareness of sit stand desks has heighted (pun intended) in the last few years meaning the variety available has expanded too. With lots of options available, there’s something to suit all workplaces from small home offices to banks of desks for a the whole team.
Many ergonomic chairs come with technical mechanisms to promote movement whilst sitting. There are also plenty of economical accessories which can also help. Some people might even opt for a gym ball – just make sure you read our facts if you do!
Take a break and streeeetch!
Our favourite tip is to make sure you take proper breaks. Move away from your desk and do some stretches or go for a stroll! At Posture People we are lucky to work right next to the beach, but you don’t need waves to refresh you.
Not only will exercise help reinvigorate you for the rest of the day, being outside in nature is proven to reduce feelings of stress and improve your mood. The charity Mind has lots of outdoor activities to try, as well as advice on overcoming barriers that might stop you connecting with nature.
Choose activities you can easily add into your day – even small actions can make a big difference if they become part of your routine.