Tips to Get You Up from Your Desk and Moving Around

Woman standing up from desk

Get up! Move! Stop being so lazy! (I'm talking to myself, here.)

Even though I've written several articles on the pitfalls of too much sitting, I don't seem to be any better at heeding these warnings than anyone else who sits too much. Our bodies, alas, were designed to be active, and when we sit like lumps for extended periods, all kinds of things can happen that are detrimental to our health. Making matters worse, the negative effects are cumulative. What's a person to do?

I found a short-term solution for getting myself out of my chair more often. It revolves around my laptop, which has taken to overheating. Judging from all the information about overheating laptops, it's probably a simple fix like a new fan, and I'll get it taken care of soon. In the meantime, I've become very efficient at doing what I need to do on my laptop so I can turn it off and let it cool. And once I've turned it off, I get up from my desk. Voila, I'm standing!

I admit this is not an optimal strategy for sitting less, and it's certainly not one I'm recommending. But maybe it offers some clues for ways to remind yourself to get up. For example, you can set a timer that will go off every thirty to sixty minutes to remind yourself to stand—and maybe do some stretches, too. Or take a short walk, even if only to the farthest point in your building (or around your home, if you work from home).

Another possibility: Drink a lot of water while you're working so that you'll have to get up periodically to refill your water bottle (or go to the restroom!). You might also make a deal with a coworker to ping each other once an hour to stand up and move.

There are also plenty of other things that can help you move a little more, even if your work entails sitting. Hold walking meetings. Take the long way around when you need to see a colleague. Park farther away than usual. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Stand whenever you're on the phone. Take a walk during lunch or when you're on a break. And if you're able to have a standing desk, go for it—provided you won't be standing all day, which has risks of its own.

If none of these ideas works for you, let me know and I'll send you my laptop. It's the hottest solution I know.

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