February 17, 2012

Carrie Bebermeyer

Don’t be a Desk Potato: Break Up Sedentary Office Hours with Exercise

You may feel productive putting in long days at the office. But while your mind is active, your body isn’t. There is a growing body of research that supports the idea that, regardless of your exercise routine after hours, the more time you spend sitting each day, the higher your risk of heart disease. Evidence suggests your hips, spine and shoulders suffer as well.

“It’s important to get up and move around throughout the day,” says Julia Henderson-Kalb, a Saint Louis University occupational therapist. “Exercise not only helps with how you feel physically, but it also improves your mind and your memory.”

Henderson-Kalb share more about the importance of avoiding sedentary work days:

While it’s not always feasible to hit the gym at lunchtime, some small changes to your routine can add up quickly to make a positive impact your health.

Henderson-Kalb suggests these simple habits to help you increase your daily activity in a substantial way.

• Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. You’ll strengthen your abdominal and back muscles and improve your posture.

• Set an alarm to go off every hour to remind yourself to stand up and stretch. Get in the habit of walking around your office while you talk on the phone.

• Always take the stairs and use the restrooms on another floor.

• Park far away from the entrance to your office building. Wear a pedometer and aim to get 6,000-10,000 steps per day.

• Bring your lunch to work. Not only is it less expensive and can be healthier, but you’ll leave time in your day to take a lunchtime walk or exercise break.

• Bring light weights or exercise bands to the office and build an exercise routine into your day. For specific exercises and a demonstration, click here.

Long a leader in educating health professionals, Saint Louis University offered its first degree in an allied health profession in 1929. Today the Doisy College of Health Sciences offers degrees in physical therapy, athletic training education, clinical laboratory science, nutrition and dietetics, health informatics and information management, health sciences, medical imaging and radiation therapeutics, occupational science and occupational therapy, and physician assistant education. The college's unique curriculum prepares students to work with health professionals from all disciplines to ensure the best possible patient care.

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