How much do you move on a daily basis? You might be surprised to discover that you move far less than you think you do, and that this inactivity can have significant consequences for your long-term health.
Studies have found that individuals that lead a sedentary lifestyle are at an increased risk for developing colon cancer, breast cancer, and Type 2 diabetes, among other diseases. Conversely, when individuals adopted a regimen of regular physical activity, their risk factors decreased significantly.
Hussain al Nowais, an international medical salesman with a passion for healthy living, understands how easy it can be to unconsciously adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Working a desk job, driving to and from work, flying to meetings, and spending time at home replying to emails all detract from time we could spend being physically active.
Throughout his career, Hussain al Nowais has found simple ways to integrate movement seamlessly into his daily life. These strategies include:
- Always take the stairs.
When feasible, opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Studies have shown that taking the stairs strengthens both the heart and lungs, and builds leg muscle. Given that adults need two and a half hours of moderate exercise a week, devoting 10 extra minutes to taking the stairs throughout the day is an easy way to work toward this benchmark.
- Walk and talk.
The next time you’re on the phone, why not walk around as you talk? Whether you simply pace back and forth in your office or go for a stroll outside, walking and talking accomplishes two aims at once. Many tend to find that repetitive movement can improve clarity and reduce anxiety, which could be beneficial the next time you have to make a high-stakes phone call.
- Desk stretches.
Get your blood flowing throughout the course of your workday with easy stretches that can be performed right at your desk. Consider the elbow stretch, the forward stretch, the shoulder shrug, or the basic stand up/sit down stretch. There are countless ways to engage in subtle stretching while you ponder what to say in your next email or mull over the pros and cons of a new proposal.
- Meet in person.
In many office environments, it’s typically the case that workers in the same vicinity email back and forth from their desks throughout the day. Email communication can be effective, but choosing to talk in person is an easy way to stay up and about throughout your long work day. The next time you need to talk strategy or have a question that could be best explained in person, take the initiative to walk right over to your co-worker’s desk to stand and have a face-to-face conversation. Do this multiple times throughout the day, and you’ll not only get the answers you need quicker, but move more in the process.
Ultimately, leading a more active lifestyle doesn’t have to mean joining a gym or waking up for a 6am run; rather, you can become more active by making small adjustments to your regular routine.