We’re spending more time sitting in front of a screen than ever before. This is making us less active and more prone to serious diseases, according to the American Heart Association.
To some of us, leaving our work to walk for 15 to 30 minutes might seem pointless. It’s not very strenuous, and it won’t help us if we’re already avid exercisers, right? Wrong! Research now shows that sitting all day can actually cancel out our scheduled exercise. In addition to providing health benefits, walking throughout your day can reduce tension, anxiety, and fatigue. It does this by boosting your energy and enthusiasm and hence increasing your productivity at work.
But why is it so hard?
I asked a few team members about walking at work. Twenty percent said they make it a priority to walk at work and take the opportunity to walk to every meeting. The other eighty percent admitted they felt it was pointless, an interruption, or they just didn’t have the time. Here are some of their excuses followed by my recommendations.
Excuse #1 – TIME – “I have no time to walk. I find myself stuck at the computer for hours.”
Set an alarm on your computer or watch so you get up and move at least every two hours. Commit to walking twice a week during the workday for one month. See if you feel a difference in your productivity and mood, and evaluate your time barrier.
Excuse #2 – RAIN – “I do not enjoy walking in the rain and don’t like the idea of walking indoors.”
Ok, fair enough. Most of us don’t enjoy a gloomy day or rain. Try taking the stairs during the rainy season and always have your shoes ready to change into if there is a break in the rainfall at lunch.
Excuse #3 – SWEAT – “I don’t want to sweat too much and then go back to my workspace”
Your walk doesn’t have to be intense exercise that would cause you to sweat. Walk to reenergize your mood and increase your creativity. Try hosting a walking meeting a few days a week or make it the first part of your meeting.
Excuse #4 – SHOES – “I never have the right shoes for walking”
Keep a pair of tennis shoes under your desk. We are in Washington. No one will notice your tennis shoes with your work attire. Try it for two weeks.
Excuse #5 – BREAK FOR OTHER REASONS – “I take my break to read my book”
Try audio books so you can listen to your favorite book while walking. Or set aside two days a week for walking and three for reading and see if it is worth creating another time to read.
Excuse #6 – I ALREADY EXERCISE – “I already go to the gym so I don’t see the benefits of walking during the day”
Awesome job being an avid exerciser. But did you know that if you sit most of the day you may be just as at risk for cardiovascular disease? Go here to see what some physicians are now calling the sitting disease. You have got to get up and move if your job is sedentary!
Have I convinced everyone to celebrate National Walk Day? Let’s move TOGETHER to make Wednesday, April 6 our first day of walking for 30 minutes. The Whole U will give out purple I WALK AT WORK wristbands for those who attend the organized walks. We will also mail them to those who walk on their own or with colleagues another time and submit a picture either through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on our social media. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to see where we’ll be walking or to share your pics.
Whether you are an avid exerciser or not, join us in building awareness of the positive impact a daily 30-minute walk can have on our health!
Can we get 1,000 UW faculty and staff to commit? Let’s do this!