Stop Moving, Start Dying* (tips on staying fit at your desk)

a very bad time

a very bad time

How long are you sedentary on an average day? One hour? Two? More than three?

If you have a desk job that keeps you chained to a chair then perhaps it’s time you thought about incorporating more movement into your day.

Because moving is, hands down, the most important (and easily achievable!) step you can take to better your health. You can have the rest of it dialled in – a great diet, at least 8 hours sleep, little stress – but if you’re not moving on a daily basis then you’re still leaving yourself vulnerable to disease and early death.

So I’ve put together a little primer in case you need some inspiration. Feel free to add your own tips in the comments – I’m always open to new ways to get my move on.

  1. Sit/Stand.

    I probably don’t need to get into the benefits of standing desks, that’s been covered extensively by everyone in the online health community. What I will say is that standing may be the holy grail but it’s not necessary (or even desirable) to do it too much. Alternating is key. Sit for 20, stand for 30. Listening to your body is also key so if you didn’t get much sleep the night before, have post-workout soreness or it’s just that time of month then give yourself a break and take a load off.

    this guy knows what I'm talking about (source)
    this guy knows what I’m talking about (source)
  2. Squat. A lot.

    You don’t need to be packing to do a meaningful squat. Bodyweight alone works just fine. Any time you get stuck, demotivated or simply bored get up and bust out 10 squats. It’ll clear that blockage in no time.

  3. Get weights.

    About a year ago I bought myself some small and inconspicuous weights. And I’m talking really small. The type of small I’d be a little embarrassed about if I didn’t lift much heavier things in my free time. When you’re stuck in an office, tiny 5lb ankle/wrist weights can be your saviour. Strap them onto your ankles under the desk for a few calf raises, lift them over your head for a tricep workout or simply hold them while you do those squats. Every little helps.

  4. Take the long way round.

    From the car park, to the bathroom, to get coffee…always take the longest journey possible because every step is an investment in your health and future mobility.

  5. Keep a yoga mat handy.

    I have a yoga mat stuffed under my desk and at least once a day I’ll unroll it in a nearby empty office and do some gentle yoga poses and/or stretches. It’s a great mentally rejuvenating exercise that’ll also improve your flexibility over time.

  6. Invest in an exercise ball.

    If you are sitting at your desk, then at least make sure you’re sitting in a way that exercises your core, is easy on your hips and allows for some movement. An exercise ball ticks all those boxes. It’s also great for anyone with back pain.

    warning: do not let horses use your exercise ball. They are terrible at returning them

    warning: do not let horses use your exercise ball. They are terrible at returning them

* borrowed with respect from the legendary Paleo guru Mark Sisson. 

Weigh in: Do you try to stand/move while you work? Got any more tips to add to my list?

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3 thoughts on “Stop Moving, Start Dying* (tips on staying fit at your desk)

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