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Get Out of that Chair and Get Moving

Feb. 22, 2012
An occupational therapist at Saint Louis University has some bad news for office workers: Research has identified a link between sedentary behavior and heart disease, which means employees who are deskbound for most of the workday may be putting their health at risk.

You can reduce that risk by getting out of your chair and moving more throughout the workday. Don't rely on an evening jog to make up for a sedentary day – exercising after work hours won't necessarily going to erase the effects of sitting all day.

"Even those people who go out and exercise 45 minutes or an hour every day and really break a sweat, if they go and they work all day in an office, they're still at risk," said occupational therapist Julia Henderson-Kalb in a short Saint Louis University video.

Office workers therefore should make an effort to get up and move around throughout the day. Don't sweat it if your workplace doesn't have a gym – you can make small adjustments to your routine to get more movement in. Henderson-Kalb offers the following tips:

· Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair to strengthen your abdominal and back muscles and improve your posture.
· Set an alarm to go off every hour to remind yourself to stand up and stretch.
· Get in the habit of walking around your office during breaks or while you talk on the phone.
· Always take the stairs and use the restrooms on another floor.
· Park far away from the entrance to your office building. Wear a pedometer and aim to walk 6,000-10,000 steps per day.
· Bring your lunch to work. Not only is it less expensive and can be healthier, but you’ll leave time in your day to take a lunchtime walk or exercise break.
· Bring light weights or exercise bands to the office and build an exercise routine into your day.

For more information on getting out of your desk chair and getting a move on, Saint Louis University offers a list of exercises that can be done at your desk.

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