You’ve probably heard the research that says the more you sit, the higher your risk of health conditions. Once such issue that can arise is heart disease. Because your heart relies on a healthy amount of physical activity, a sedentary job can increase your risk of developing the disease. Fortunately, you don’t have to take it sitting down (pun intended). There are some easy things you can do to protect your heart, even if you have to sit down all day at work.
1. Take a Little Walk Several Times Throughout the Day
You don’t have to stroll for a long time to benefit from this. Cardiologists say that a simple 2-minute walk several times per day is enough to keep your heart active and slash your risk of heart disease. Try getting up for a couple of minutes every hour for the most benefit. You might also consider a longer walk during your lunch break to enhance the benefits.
2. Include Some NEAT Activities in Your Day
NEAT refers to non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which include activities that will burn calories, get your heart working and stretch muscles that get stiff from sitting for long periods of time. Try spending a few minutes every hour bending, stretching or turning to reap the benefits.
3. Watch Your Fat Intake at Lunchtime (and Always)
A high fat diet contributes to heart disease so it’s a good idea to watch how much you get. That means skipping the drive-thru at lunchtime and packing yourself a low-fat meal from home. You can still enjoy something that tastes good, while also protecting your heart. Healthy fats are what you want in this case so feast on avocado, nuts, seeds and salmon. Grilled salmon salad, anyone? Yum!
4. Stop Relying on Email and the Elevator
As mentioned above, getting up and moving around is important for keeping your ticker in shape. Instead of emailing your work bestie, go chat her up in her cubicle on your break. Likewise, skip the elevator and hoof it down the stairs when you run out for your afternoon mocha.
5. Get Rid of Your Office Chair for Part of the Day
Standing burns more calories than sitting and keeps your entire body engaged for balance. Try spending part of your day standing up. Say when you’re on the phone or reading a report. You’ll be amazed at how much this can energize you and make you feel better than sitting down until quitting time.
6. Start an Exercise Group with Your Co-Workers with Money as a Prize
Challenge your co-workers to strap on a pedometer and have a contest to see who can take the most steps during a given time period. Cold hard cash is a great motivator so ask everyone to buy in. The winner gets the pot. A little bit of competition can go a long way toward keeping you motivated and on track.
7. Give Your Commute to Work a Makeover
Getting to and from work is definitely part of a sedentary job, so taking steps to revitalize it can really help you reach your goals. If you ride the bus or subway, start getting off one stop sooner and walking the last few blocks to the office. If you drive, park at the edge of the parking lot and log those extra steps to the front door.
Does your sedentary job worry you? What steps do you take to protect your heart?