Move It! Even When You’re At Work
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Could your job be contributing to excess body weight?

According to an article from the New York Times, the “American workplace” has been targeted as a new culprit in the obesity epidemic.1

Why is the American workplace being targeted?

  • Since the 1960’s there has been a major shift in the type of labor demanded by the workforce. Many jobs/careers have become more and more sedentary, with technological advancements, thus requiring minimal physical activity to complete the task at hand.
  • The article from the New York Times goes on to report that, “a sizable portion of the national weight gain can be explained by declining physical activity during the workday. Jobs requiring moderate physical activity, which accounted for 50 percent of the labor market in 1960, have plummeted to just 20 percent.”1

The 2017 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes advises Americans to be less sedentary throughout the day

  • “Reduce the amount of time spent being sedentary (e.g., working at a computer, watching TV), by breaking up bouts of sedentary activity (more than 30 minutes) by briefly standing, walking, or performing at other light physical activities. Avoiding extended sedentary periods may help prevent type 2 diabetes for those at risk and may also aid in glycemic control for those with diabetes.”2

What can you do to move more when you are at work? For ideas, check out the following list

*Each exercise can be performed for 1 to 2 minutes

*Make sure you have received the go ahead from your physician to partake in physical activity. If you have any injuries (current or old) discuss with your physician and/or a physical therapist if there are any activities/exercises that should be avoided.

  • Chair exercises- Chair exercises should be done only if you have a sturdy seat (i.e. chair with no wheels).
    • Seated crunches (Target: abdominals), Chair dips (Target: triceps/back of arm), Squats (Target: buttocks and legs), Calf raises (Target: calves)
  • Desk pushups (Target: chest and back)
  • Wall sit (Target: buttocks and legs)
  • Arm circles (Target: Shoulders)
  • Buttocks squeeze. Squeeze buttocks together while seated at your desk
    • Squeeze for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat 5-10 times.
  • Jog in place or march in place at your desk
  • Stand (or walk) while talking on the phone
  • Take the stairs
  • Try sitting on a stability ball instead of your usual desk chair
    • Sitting on stability ball can improve balance and core strength
  • Walk to get the mail
  • Walk at lunch
    • If the weather is not conducive to walking, try walking around your office building.
  • Instead of emailing or calling a coworker, walk to their cubicle/office

Equipment to keep at work

  • Resistance bands
    • These can be used for chair exercises
  • Ankle weights
    • Wear when walking around the office
  • Small hand weights
    • These can be used for chair exercise
  • Walking shoes
    • Walking shoes are great to have on hand if you get the chance to walk at lunch
view references
  1. Parker-Pope, T. Less Active at Work, Americans Have Packed on the Pounds. The New York Times. 2001. Accessed from the web: April 6th, 2017.
  2. Cefalu W. American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes-2017. Diabetes Care. 2017; 40 (1): S33-S43.
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