Health tips for a desk job

Do you sit at a desk all day for your job? That’s pretty normal. According to a recent report by the Center for Disease Control, Americans get almost no physical activity while they’re at work — in fact only 6.

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  • Do you sit at a desk all day for your job? That's pretty normal. According to a recent report by the Center for Disease Control, Americans get almost no physical activity while they're at work - in fact only 6.5 percent of adults meet any kind of "minimum physical activity guidelines" while on the job. This is bad news for our nation's health. It's no wonder American obesity is on the rise.

  • Is on-the-job exercise possible?

  • What can you do about your sedentary desk job? Not much, unless you feel like quitting in favor of becoming a white water rafting guide. This type of job is, unfortunately, a normal part of the American lifestyle. However, you don't have to take these depressing statistics lying (or sitting) down. While you'll likely never get adequate physical activity during your average work day, there are some things you can do during the day that will help keep your metabolism revved up, maintain your muscle tone, and supplement your after work exercise.

  • Simple daily exercise tips

  • Get moving during your lunch hour

  • Whether you have half an hour or one hour for lunch, don't let that prime exercise time go to waste. You might choose to walk somewhere to get food, or bring a portable meal you can eat on the go. Sandwiches, chips, or foods you can warm up and take in small portable containers are the best options. Make it a goal that as long as the weather is nice, you will go outside and walk at least 20 minutes during your lunch hour. When the weather is bad, try walking around the office, or up and down the stairs.

  • Communicate with co-workers face-to-face

  • Remember the old days, before email, when we would actually get up and walk down the hall to talk to our co-workers? It's time to bring that back in style. If you get thirsty - instead of keeping a big bottle of water at your desk, keep a smaller cup and get up frequently to refill it.

  • Invest in a standing desk

  • This might be a little harder to acquire, but it's worth the effort. Standing desks are becoming more common as people try to find ways to exercise during the day. If you can't get a standing desk, find a box or small table on which to place your computer monitor and keyboard. Elevate the keyboard to a level that you can keep your arms at a 90 degree angle while standing to type. Elevate your computer monitor to eye height to prevent neck and back strain.

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  • Take a stretching break once an hour

  • Roll your shoulders, stretch your legs, do a few jumping jacks, anything to get your circulation moving more efficiently, and to prevent muscle and joint stiffness. If you're lucky enough to have an office door you can shut, don't be afraid to do a few crunches or quick jogs in place.

  • Even if you're not lucky enough to have a private office, don't feel embarrassed about trying to stay fit on the job. Who knows, you might start a new office trend. Exercise is always more fun in a group; maybe the organization of a lunchtime walking group is in order?

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Katie Nielsen received her bachelor's in English with an emphasis in technical writing. She has taught English and is a published writer.

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