At our physical therapy clinic, we see hard-working patients who want to excel in their careers and provide for their families—but it’s hard to do that when dealing with an injury. Unfortunately, many people eventually realize that it’s the sedentary nature of their job that’s directly impacting their health and job performance.
Everyone needs to move a lot throughout the day. But if you sit for the majority of your workday, it’s essential to find a way to get moving more frequently. Not only will regular movement help mitigate the risks associated with excessive sedentary behavior (like back pain, obesity, and even heart disease), but research suggests it can also increase your productivity, mental focus, and job satisfaction.
Need some tips to stay moving? Check out these helpful ideas from our physical therapist staff at St. Luke’s & East Tennessee Rehab.
Here’s How to Move More If You Sit at a Desk for Work
- Do mini “workouts” throughout the day. At least once per hour, pause what you’re doing and take a few minutes to run through some simple exercises or stretches. These can be done in the privacy of your own office or even out in the open (hey—maybe you’ll inspire your co-workers!). Ask a physical therapist to provide you with an individualized program that can address your specific needs and be tailored to your job duties.
- Drink water. Staying well-hydrated on the job offers multiple benefits: it helps your tissues and joints stay healthy, it improves focus, it eases headaches, and yes—it will make you need to get up more frequently to use the bathroom!
- Use the building to your advantage. Come up with ways to move more on and around your work area. Can you park farther away from the building? Allocate 10 minutes of your lunch break to a brisk walk around the campus or neighborhood? Take the stairs instead of the elevator? Walk down the hall to chat with your colleague or employee instead of sending an email or text?
- Wear a pedometer. Research shows that wearing a simple pedometer (you can find super inexpensive options online and in sports retail stores) helps increase the number of steps you take per day. This kind of objective data can be inspiring and get you to move more frequently than you may otherwise. You may even consider getting some colleagues to join the “pedometer club” and create a little friendly competition to see who can get the most steps in throughout a typical work day or week!
- Get nagging injuries addressed. It’s hard to stay focused and comfortable at work if you’re in pain. And while we know that sitting for longer than 7 to 8 hours per day is associated with health problems, sometimes the idea of increasing your physical activity can seem like a huge obstacle. By consulting with a physical therapist, you can get underlying health problems diagnosed and managed. Our therapists use non-invasive, evidence-based techniques that work with your body’s natural healing power—it’s not just about masking the pain! Doctors of physical therapy can also prescribe expert guidance on ergonomic improvements around your office and can help you maximize your posture, core strength, and other elements of health so you can function better while on and off the clock.