If you're like most office workers, you spend the majority of your day sitting at a computer. After eight hours of slouching, craning your neck, and remaining sedentary, you're in no shape to run a workout.
Sitting for such a long period of time shortens your hip flexors and hamstrings. It also stretches out and weakens your glutes and quadriceps. In addition to these more immediate effects, prolonged sitting has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and even cancer.
Fortunately, there are several simple ways to stay active at the office, limit how stiff you get, and help compensate for the imbalances that are created by so much sitting. These strategies are practical and you can start right now, without you seeming weird to your colleagues.
1. Stay hydrated. Drinking adequate water has two important benefits. Not only will proper hydration make you feel better and prepare you for your next run, but it will force you to use the restroom more frequently. You'll have to get up out of your chair, walk, and move around more than usual.
2. Get active during lunch. Your lunch break is a great time to stay loose and move your body. Your best options are to go to the gym, go for a walk, do some quick yoga outside, or shoot a basketball at a park across the street (or use the jungle gym). Not only will you avoid chronic tightness, but you're adding more exercise (and fitness) to your weekly schedule.
3. Do everything the hard way. Sure, you can do most of your work at your desk. But let's get your butt out of that chair:
- Forget email and the phone; walk to a coworker's desk and talk to them while standing.
- If it's possible in your building, take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk the long way to the restroom.
- Instead of reading something at your desk, print a copy and read it while standing or pacing.
- Stand up when you're on the phone.
- Elevate your monitor and keyboard so you can work while standing.
Soon you'll be finding even more ways to walk and stand at work. The more opportunities where you can replace sitting with activity, the better you will feel when you're out running.