At Avelient, we spend a lot of time at our work desks, staring into computer screens.
And as much as we love it, we know the human body simply isn’t meant to sit for 8+ hours a day.
So that got us thinking: in our day and age, when so many of us work at desks, how can we curb the health risks?
Turns out, it’s actually quite easy.
Just stand up
Every hour, stand up and walk around for 5-10 minutes. Step outside. Drink a glass of water. Eat a carrot or an apple. Look away from your computer screen and allow your eyes to adjust to the world outside your monitor.
If you work in an office, a great way to continue working while getting away from your desk is to go directly to your co-workers when you need files or to discuss something, instead of emailing or calling them.
Want to take it a step further? Do some light stretches during those 5-10 minutes.
Depending on your office chair, you may also want to buy a pad to support your lower back and/or feet. Computer glasses can also help reduce glare and strain on your eyes.
How we work
Here’s some insight into how a few of the members of Avelient spend their days (which doesn't necessarily reflect this article's suggestions):
Mariano DiFabio (Partner / President) sits for 6-8 hours, then spends time with his kids for a few hours, then goes back to sitting for 2-4 hours.
Scott Alexander (Partner / Vice President) tries to take a 10 minute break from his desk every hour, and uses a phone alarm to remind him. He uses that time to get up, stretch, walk, run a quick errand, etc.
Sam Howat (Partner / Vice President) does pilate stretches and planks on the hour, or walks his dog, Stanley. He also goes to the gym daily.
Art Armstrong (Lead Developer) tries to make a habit of taking his dogs for a 30-minute minimum walk, or goes to the gym around lunchtime. He also is often up to get food, feed the dogs, etc.
Chris Hardman (Customer Support Associate) doesn't stretch or walk around much during the day, but does spend half an hour at the gym Monday through Friday and barely uses a computer during weekends.
Jeff Logan (Search Engine Marketing Manager) walks his two dogs two miles daily, sits on a balance ball at his desk and does most of his phone calls standing up stretching. Out of work he loves his Spinning class, going to the gym twice a week and trying to catch his three kids.
Jack Armstrong (Copywriter / SEM Analyst) is up every hour to stretch his legs and maybe get some coffee or water. When he takes his lunch, he plays with his daughter or takes his dog for a walk. He also runs and lifts weights twice a week.
Renato Spinucci (Account Manager) often walks around the office while on the phone, if the call doesn't require immediate computer access. He also takes walks around outside during various intervals throughout the day, goes to the gym 4 times a week, and does some push-ups/jumping jacks.
Sue Alexander (Billing Manager) swims for an hour on her lunch break.
Nicole Scherler (Designer / Developer) doesn't move around much when she’s in the office, but she runs everyday for 30 mins and then finishes with 30 mins of weights and stretching.
Patrick Quinn (SEM Support Analyst) paces his workspace quite often and occasionally does some stretches. His evenings and weekends are usually spent away from the computer.
Sydney Fisher (Production Assistant) often walks to cafes to get some exercise and fresh air.
Still wanting more?
There are countless articles about what stretches to do, what snacks to eat, why you should buy a stability ball, how to create a health-oriented workday schedule, and so on.
We were actually pleasantly surprised by the amount of people writing and reading about how to keep your health up while leading a less than active lifestyle.
So, as you’re sitting and reading this article (yes, you), how long has it been since you’ve stood up, stretched your legs, gotten some fresh air and sunlight?
If it’s been over an hour, go do it. Right now.