Most people have probably heard by now that sitting is the new smoking when it comes to destroying your health. As such, there was a massive movement among workers and employers designed to get office workers off their rear ends and back on their feet at work. Many offices redesigned themselves and added stand up desks or desks that converted from ordinary desks to standing desks. People praised the move as a sign of employers’ new commitment to health, but recent research shows that stand up desks may not be the solution to America’s health crisis among office workers.

Sitting in one place all day is a health disaster. Standing motionlessly, however, is not too much better. Instead, what the human body really needs in order to function correctly is constant movement. It is stillness, not sitting, that is the real killer. A 30 minute workout after work or over a lunch break is not enough to prevent problems either. In order to stay healthy, a person needs to get up and move roughly every hour and spend a total of two to four hours moving while at work. Despite the importance of movement, it is something that most office jobs attempt to discourage.

In order to get enough healthy movement, office workers need to restructure how they do things. Distance and movement need to take precedence over convenience. Actually go to the grocery store and walk around rather than having the groceries delivered to the door. Go get a drink of water from the farthest drinking fountain, rather than the one three feet away. Take the stairs instead of the elevator in the morning, and walk up and down several flights of stairs midmorning rather than drinking a second cup of coffee. Take phone calls while doing a wall sit, and do some yoga stretches while checking emails.

The modern office is built to keep workers in their chairs all day, every day, but that is destroying people’s health. The human body was meant to move and keep moving, not slouch in a chair all day. Unfortunately, reclaiming that movement gets harder and harder as technology works to make each day easier and easier. Adding more movement to a workday will take time, effort and practice, but there are two easy ways to add more movement to a day outside of an exercise regime. Actually take a lunch break and eat lunch away from your desk, and when you get home after work, move rather than flopping down on the couch to sit some more. Your body, mind and lifespan will all thank you.

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