3 Easy Ways to Get Off Your Butt at Work (Your Health Will Thank You!)

Business woman working in corporate office.
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The most unassuming workplace health hazard just might be your office chair.

Yes. Your chair.

Prolonged sitting may be the most dangerous thing we do daily, say health experts cited in a Bloomberg article.

“When a body sits for an extended time, blood pools in the legs, and the arteries there lose some of their ability to dilate,” the article reads. “Metabolism slows, and with it the healthy functioning of various biochemical operations. That in turn leaves the body more vulnerable to the physical and psychological effects of sedentary living.”

Studies have connected sitting too long with health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, anxiety and cancer, Bloomberg reports. And then there’s the risk of a weakened backside and a greater probability of a shortened lifespan.

Yep, all from simply sitting too much.

So what can you do to combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle? Here are a few tips.

Take Walking Breaks Throughout the Day

The Bloomberg article points to research that shows it’s good to take five- to 10-minute walking break a few times a day — or take even shorter walking breaks hourly.

You can sneak in extra physical activity by walking to speak to someone in the office down the hall instead of emailing, texting or sending a Slack message. Instead of having lunch at your desk, perhaps you could walk to a nearby park to eat.

If you’ve got a competitive streak, you may want to challenge your coworkers to see who logs in the most steps throughout the day using a pedometer or your favorite fitness tracking app or device.

Incorporate Sitting Exercises into Your Day

Even if you’re not walking or standing, you can still find ways to stretch your muscles and avoid the blood pooling in your legs due to inactivity.

Livestrong, Prevention and Fitday give great examples of exercises you can do while sitting. These exercises will make your desk chair work for you, not against you.

Use an Alternative to the Standard Desk

If you’re going to be tied to a desk all day, there are other options to just sitting at a traditional desk.

You can try a standing desk. Bloomberg reports more and more companies are offering this perk, but research also shows prolonged standing can cause muscle fatigue, back pain, swollen ankles and other health issues.

If your office doesn’t have standing desks, look into getting portable equipment that converts your regular desk into a standing desktop.

Or converts your desk chair into one.

This CEO created his own standing desk hack using about $22 in Ikea products.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She sits at work way too much.