We’ve all heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking”. While scientists seem to agree that sedentary life is nowhere near as dangerous for the body as smoking, there is a lot of research about the negative impacts of inactivity on overall health and well-being.
On the flipside, numerous studies have proven that incorporating movement throughout the day can increase productivity. In fact, one study showed a 72 per cent improvement in employees’ time management and completed work on days when they added movement to their schedule. But how? Gyms are closed. It’s cold out. We’re in lockdown. It’s dark. How do you motivate yourself to get outside (or at the very least, out of your chair) during a winter lockdown?
As a member of our Health and Wellness Committee, I’m always on the lookout for ways to keep us all motivated, healthy and happy. Here are a few small suggestions to get moving to get more out of your workday:
1. Lunchtime Yoga
One of my favourite activities is yoga, and this option is a fantastic quick session to stretch out the body and get the blood flowing after hours of sitting at my laptop. It’s just 20 minutes so try it over lunch, or just before you start the day.
2. Noon Walks
Even in the winter, take a lunchtime walk around the block to get some fresh air, and get in those steps. A little vitamin D also goes a long way to improving mood and focus, so if you’re feeling a little sluggish, just get outside.
3. Standing conference calls
Even if you can’t leave your workspace because of numerous calls, you can still move. Take your meeting on your smartphone and walk around the house for the duration. I like to circle my kitchen. It might be repetitive, but it lets me focus on the call while moving around.
4. Try a standing desk
Media Profile has given staff a stipend to update our home offices (thank you!), so many people have chosen to use that to upgrade to a standing desk. It’s not quite the same as moving but standing has proven benefits over sitting down all day.
5. Support local virtual gyms and studios
Since lockdown has forced gyms and studios to close, they have been some of the hardest hit local businesses. But you can still help them by signing up for virtual classes. Many offer special movement classes that are simple yet effective. Bonus points for supporting BIPOC-owned businesses in your area. At MP we offer a special Health and Wellness Benefit for staff who want to keep healthy and we encourage them to use it to prioritize their health and wellness and support local.