It's no secret that Americans need to move more. Yet our jobs often require us to sit for eight to 10 hours a day -- at home, the office or behind the wheel -- often getting up only for lunch and trips to the bathroom.
And that can be hazardous to your health.
"There's a strong link between a sedentary lifestyle and the risk of death. It also increases the risk of adverse health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many types of cancer," said Qaiser Mukhtar, a health scientist in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity & Obesity at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "That's why physical activity is so important."
To lower risk of heart attack and stroke, for example, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, per week.
While that might sound like a lot, it works out to only 30 minutes a day for a five-day work week.
The good news for office workers who may have difficulty blocking out even a half hour for exercise is, you don't have to get those 30 minutes all at once.
"Bouts of even less than 10 minutes at a time are beneficial," said Dr. Michael V. McConnell, head of Cardiovascular Health Innovations at Verily Life Sciences.
So just in time for Move More Month in April, here are some easy, even fun ways to stay active at work:
For example, don't just sit there while talking on the phone. Stand up and march in place, do squats or swing your arms instead. Take brief breaks to stand and move during long sedentary meetings. Do ankle circles and flexes while sitting or lift your legs and hold them up for five seconds. And don't forget your wrists, arms and neck. They also need to be stretched after long hours at the keyboard.
Consider taking public transportation to work. You'll probably have to walk farther going to and from the bus or subway stop then to your parked car. And you may save money, too.
Healthier workers are more productive, take fewer sick days and have lower health care costs. So join your company's employee wellness committee (or start one if you have to) to make it easier to exercise during the work day. Consider these steps:
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