It's no secret that living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a host of physical ailments, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. This includes employees who spend the vast majority of their time at work seated at their desks with little physical activity. A more recent discovery, however, is that sitting all day at work can do more than just harm your physical health-- it can also take a toll on your mental well-being.
In fact, researchers discovered that employees who sit for longer than six hours a day have an increased risk of mental health problems, including higher rates of anxiety and depression, when compared to their more active colleagues. Women, in particular, reported experiencing greater psychological distress related to long periods of sitting than did their male counterparts.
While sitting at work is unavoidable for many, there are ways to help ensure that your mental health doesn't suffer as a result:
- Take the stairs. If you work in a building that has an elevator, it might be tempting to jump on and take a quick and leisurely ride up to your office. Whenever possible, though, opt for the stairs. Any type of movement and exercise--however miniscule it seems-- positively impacts both your mental and physical health.
- Stand up and stretch. It's a growing trend in schools today-- teachers ask their students to take a break to stand up and stretch. These "brain breaks" help students to recharge and have been shown to increase productivity. Apply the same strategy in your office: once an hour, make it a point to stand up and stretch out those muscles.
- Join a walking club-- or create one. If your office already has a walking or fitness club, it's time to sign up. If no such club exists in your workplace, create one. Ask co-workers to join you for a brisk walk during your lunch break. Having colleagues participate helps to hold you accountable so that walking becomes a part of your daily routine and not just a passing trend.
- Hold outdoor meetings. Forego the traditional conference room meeting in favor of an outdoor meeting with your team. Meeting outside is a way to ensure that everyone breaks free from the office chairs that often hold them hostage.
- Invest in an alternative desk chair. If you have to spend all day parked at a desk, considering an alternative to the traditional desk chair might be a good option for you. There are several alternatives on the market today-- ranging from the simple exercise ball to the elaborate stationary bicycle Fitdesk-- that can help get your blood flowing while you get your work done.
To read more articles on improving your mental health, please visit the Staffing Plus Blog.
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