Be active, feel good and treat yourself
Does your conscious nag at you when you take a biscuit during your tea break after sitting down at the desk all day? It’s easy to think that you can make up for it later by working out, but sometimes going to the gym after a long day at work just doesn’t sound very appealing and, suddenly, you stop going. Does that mean you can’t treat yourself? Of course not! Because there are a number of easy ways to get some gentle exercise even during office hours!
Stand up for yourself
Sit-stand desks are ideal for people who work in an office. If you usually sit down all day, raising the desk and standing up for a while can make a big difference.
Standing up can help alleviate back pain. When you sit down you put a lot of pressure on your back, so, naturally, when you stand up that pressure is reduced. Your shoulders are automatically drawn back as well, which gives you a better posture. Standing up for a while is also good for the knees since they get stiff from being in the same position. The best cure for this is movement. While you work standing up you can perform simple exercises where you bend your knees and other joints.
Research from the University of Chester shows that people who stand up burn on average 50 calories more per hour than people who sit down. If you stand up for three hours every workday, that makes 750 calories in a week – and a total of 30,000 in a year. That is roughly equal to the calories burned over 10 marathons and potentially equates to a weight loss of 8 lbs ¹. So, you can justify that chocolate bar after a bad day at work without being too hard on yourself!
Go a bit further
The best of both worlds is to switch between different activities during the workday. Use a desk treadmill or a desk bike if you want to move around more than just switching from a sitting to standing position.
Experts say that we should walk at least 10,000 steps every day, which is equal to approximately 7 kilometres. Does that sound impossible to achieve because you work in an office eight hours a day? Then there’s another option: An hour and a half on a bike is equal to about 10,000 steps! You can burn around 200-250 calories by cycling at a moderate pace (12-14 mph) on a staintionary bike for just 30 minutes (depending on your weight) ².
Walk for your health
Unlike cycling, walking is a weight-bearing activity that strengthens bones, tendons and ligaments. Physical activity reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, and releases beneficial natural chemicals into the bloodstream. That’s why taking a walk will make you happy. Plus, it helps new brain cells to develop and enhances the brain’s ability to communicate. Your immune system also gets a boost.
You can burn a lot by simply walking slowly on a desk treadmill for an hour or so at any time during the workday. Walking burns around 200-300 calories an hour at a leisurely pace of 3 mph (depending on your weight) – more if you walk faster ³.
Give yourself a reward
Don’t be afraid to reward yourself when you’ve been particularly active. Don’t feel guilty if you want to treat yourself if you have stood or walked at your desk every day that week. Have that extra biscuit during your coffee break, buy something you’ve been wanting for a while or allow yourself a lie in on the weekend. It’s all about balance.
In order not to let the rewarding system get out of hand, you shouldn’t treat yourself after every little achievement but set up short- and long-term goals. It could be a target to achieve by the end of the year with specific goals for each week or something less time dependant. Work out once a week: treat yourself to a biscuit with your afternoon coffee. Work out three times a week: let yourself buy that chocolate you’ve been craving. Keep up the workout for three weeks in a row: go see a movie and buy a large popcorn!
What’s important is that you feel good and live a long, healthy life. How you do that is up to you!