Take a seat and think back to the last time you sat down for a big game or TV show in your favorite chair. As you begin to snuggle in you notice something a little different with this particular chair. You lift your left arm and underneath it you find a mini refrigerator stocked with your favorite snacks and drinks. While this may sound like fiction, the Cool Chair, is a best-seller for one of the largest chair and sofa manufacturers in the world. We won’t have to move an inch–except to go to the bathroom, I’ll let you create that chair’s name…
While conveniences like televisions, escalators and elevators have been blamed for soaring obesity and disease over the last few decades, recent research now points to an additional culprit which may be even more dangerous to our declining health and fitness—sitting down on the job.
Researchers point out the modern sedentary American Workplace–or what has been referred to as the desk sentence–may contribute more to the decline of our health and fitness than we ever imagined. Dr. James Levine, an expert in the field of inactivity and health from the Mayo Clinic, has determined that the way individuals spend their work day can have a dramatic impact on their health and longevity. According to Dr. Levine, the average American employee spends the majority of their time seated. 7-8 hours per day at a desk or at lunch plus up to 5-6 hours seated while commuting, watching TV or on a computer at home.
“Excessive sitting is a lethal activity.” – Dr. Levine
But there is hope. Levine’s studies have shown that small movements performed throughout one’s day can significantly thwart the decline to one’s health and creeping weight gains. What Dr. Levine refers to as NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) or non-sweat activities performed throughout your day expend much more energy and have even greater impact on your health than visiting the gym after work. These simple movements spread out throughout your day only require subtle changes to your daily work routine and have been found to enhance creativity, improve muscle memory, decrease stress and increase productivity!
Do This, Not That
Consider some simple ways you can begin to incorporate more movement into your day at work. Remember, it doesn’t have to be hours at the gym or a no pain–no gain mentality to change your health, happiness and life.
|Stand or pace when talking on the phone
|Sit when talking on the phone
|Take the stairs
|Take the elevator
|Park further away at your work or the mall
|Search for the nearest spot
|Set your an hourly “move” alarm on your phone
|Sit all day without moving or breaks
|Fidget when on the phone
|Sit still when on the phone
|Holding a walking meeting with colleagues
|Sit down when holding meetings
|Stand when doing desk work
|Sit when performing computer or office work
|Take a 5-minute standing break every hour
|Sit down when drinking coffee or taking a break
|Walk fast or lightly jog to get coffee
|Send someone else to make your coffee
Walk to deliver a message to a co-worker
Email or text a co-worker
Sean Foy, MA
Sean is an internationally renowned authority on fitness, weight management and healthy living and is the co-creator and coach of WELCOA’s National On the Move Initiative. Foy is also the Founder and President of Stronger U Academy—an international personal development organization dedicated to strengthening and transforming individuals and organizations all over the world. For more, visit wintodaywellness.com.
Meet Sean at the WELCOA Summit
Join us for this year’s Summit and take part in one of our four Pre-Conference Intensive Sessions! Leave Sean’s interactive and engaging workshop with simple, practical tools and next steps to test his Daily STRONGER® approach in a fun 10-day challenge.
Explore all the Intensive Sessions, choose your favorite and register today.