I know that I’m stating the obvious, but we human beings are not made to sit on our butts all day long. This is common knowledge nowadays and yet you’ll probably agree with me, that we are more sedentary than ever. Partly it’s due to our jobs, we as authors in particular, but parts is also simply habit. It’s time to kick that habit in the butt!
There is a variety of possibilities to make this happen. And alternation is key. You do not have to stand all day long or walk all the time and never sit on a chair again. Not going to happen. And probably not very healthy and balanced as well.Your aim is balance, not extremes.
Method No. 1 – Take moving breaks
Set a timer or a reminder for a duration of your choice (half an hour, once an hour or every two hours) and move your body whenever the timer goes off. It doesn’t have to be big, fancy or embarassing. Just stand up and walk in the office for a few minutes. If you have the possibility, stretch your body. If you use the Pomodoro method, I’d suggest using those precious 5 minute breaks to get some movement. With this alone you’re doing your body and your health a big favor.
Method No. 2 – Stand up
Another easy way is to alternate your work time into sitting and standing intervalls. For this you need a desk with adjustable height or two desks – one for sitting, one for standing 🙂
Tables with adjustable heights come in a variety of prices and they are not the cheapest of investments. Though, in my opinion, they are well worth the money. If you’re working in an office, try talking to your boss about this, maybe they are willing to make adjustments (my old employer actually did!). If you are working from home like I do, and you have a tighter budget, you can also look into Ikea tables. They are not as sturdy – I wouldn’t lean on the counter top! – but they are perfectly suited for an office table and I haven’t had any issues with it yet.
As with method No. 1 you’ll want to set a timer, because when we’re engrossed in work, we tend to forget everything else.
Method No. 2.1 – Balance
If you opt for working while standing, I highly suggest using one of these cushions or something similar. You have to actually stand or sit and keep your balance on them, which activates a lot of your muscles. It’s a subtle way to move your body and improve your posture and I wouldn’t want to miss it!
Method No. 3 – Sitting variations
I’m a strong believer of diversification and one way to have that are different sitting options. Next to my regular office chair, I also have this ball and this Swopper chair to sit on. The ball is the cheapest option, although it does take quite some room. I got it when I couldn’t afford anything else and while it does have its downsides (it’s kind of cold in winter and if you wear shorts, you’ll stick to it in summer), I still love to use it. The biggest con of regular chairs is, that you slouch in it. Both the ball and the seat naturally prevent this from happening. You automatically sit straight on it and since they are flexible, you need to keep your balance, which relaxes your back and improves your muscles.
Can I just mention how much I love my Swopper? This is probably THE best investment I’ve ever done. The original price tag is quite heavy, but the quality is topnotch and they last forever. I’ve got mine second hand to save a little money and I still payed a lot. That’s just how much they keep their value.
Another chair that I’ve tested and came to love is this one. It’s on my list to get, but since it’s quite expensive as well, it didn’t happen yet. You do have a completely different posture on it, which is nice for variety, yet your back is still naturally straight. Amazing if you ask me!
Method No. 4 – Walking
I’ve incorporated walking into my daily schedule for a few months now and it feels amazing.This is an easy way to get the Compound Effect of regular exercise and it helps in a lot of different ways. If you do this during your lunch break (don’t forget a hat in summer!) you’ll find that your concentration improves a lot, you’ll be more relaxed and your mood will be better as well. You get your daily dose of sunlight, your body moves and if you manage to find a green spot you even get the benefits of nature. And it doesn’t have to be extensive, half an hour is perfectly fine!
You can stroll around or you can get the benefits of a light workout if you walk faster. If you want to walk faster, your aim is the speed that you could keep indefinitely. Don’t fall into a jog or get out of breath, just walk at a fast, but comfortable speed.
That’s it for today. As I’ve said before, you don’t need drastic changes or extremes. You want balance. To make it easier to actually incorporate something I’ve mentioned here, try one of the things at a time. Just pick the one that speaks to you or that is easiest to do in your current situation and start there. If it became a habit, you can add another one.
Tell me, are you already doing any of this? Do you have additional tips? I’d love to hear from you!
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