Don’t be a couch potato: 10 easy tips

Recent studies have raised our awareness that sitting for long periods can be hazardous to our health. At the same time, more and more leisure and work activities involve sitting. Some experts recommend converting our desks to sit-to-stand workstations as a means to a healthier future. But for financial or other reasons, not all of us can make this change. Are we doomed? Perhaps not.

Here are 10 ways to build movement into your day on the job and at home. Use the ones that work for you, and add your own:

1. Park farther away than you need to (if safe) and walk the extra distance. Added benefit: less competition for spaces.

2. Trek to your printer. Place the printer, wastebasket and/or recycle bin across the room – or, better yet, in another room.

3. Talk and walk. While on the phone, stand up and walk around (or in place).

4. Stretch! Install stretch break reminder software on your computer – and USE it. Stand up and stretch during TV commercials.

5. Rock out secretly. In work meetings or at the dinner table, rock your feet by raising your heels then raising your toes. Stretch out one leg at a time (but avoid kicking anyone under the table).

6. Faux walk. While proof-reading your work or reading a document or email on the computer, pump your arms as though you are walking vigorously. Take an occasional deep breath.

7. Go on tour. Take a brief walk around the office or home, every 20-30 minutes. When possible, take a longer walk around the building or neighborhood.

8. Reinvent “face time.” Walk to a coworker’s office or neighbor’s house instead of calling, emailing or instant messaging.

9. Move to the beat. If music inspires you to move without distracting you from your task, play it!

10. Fidget shamelessly!

Nancy M. Lowe is the owner and Chief Ergonomist of Pacific Coast Ergonomics, a local ergonomics consulting firm. As a Certified Ergonomist, Registered Physical Therapist and Certified Hand Therapist, she has prevented and treated pain and injuries in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 20 years.

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