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How to stay healthy with a sedentary job

You’re sitting at your computer 8-12 hours a day at work. Then you go home and, if you’re like millions of Americans, probably watch TV for hours on end. There are numerous articles about whether or not sedentary jobs are killing Americans. If you type in the words, “Are sedentary jobs killing Americans?” into the Google search engine you will get more than a million hits.

Chances are you are eating some junk food as you watch TV and work at your computer. However, if you are overweight your job is not to blame. First of all, you choose to be there. Second of all, that doesn’t mean you can’t still make the rest of your life healthy. There are a couple of easy, common sense things you can do: try to stand as frequently as possible while at work and exercise. In today’s modern workplace there are various types of ergonomic chairs and desks where you can actually stand while working. Here are some additional ideas to keep yourself healthy with a desk job:

Stand as frequently as possible

This one may sound odd but it is true. Frequent standing can actually lower your chances of diabetes, according to an article on the National Public Radio web site. The same article also suggests that if you do a lot of walking around the office that can help you lose weight. The exact way to do this will depend upon the specifics of what your job is. If you are a call center agent who takes calls through a wired head set then walking around the office may not be an option. However, the same agent can try to stand up in between calls and if he or she works in a virtual environment can stand up between calls, during various coaching sessions with the boss and during meetings.

One thing that Gretchen Reynolds suggests in the above NPR article is to stand up each time you answer the telephone. This can work if you answer a lot of telephone calls over the course of a day. Now onto the next thing you can do.


This one should almost go without saying. A lot of employers offer gym memberships. If they do you should take advantage of it. They are choosing to invest in you for a reason. If you have a sedentary job, it is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control that you try to exercise at least 2.5 hours a week, but that may not even be enough, according to Danielle DeSimone at Livestrong.

So, if you don’t want to give up your job for one that requires more physical activity does that mean you have to give up your job to live longer? The simple answer is no. You can plan breaks into your workday, take your lunch break and try to include a short walk at least three times during the day or right after you get off work. DeSimone also suggests that if you want to be a more serious athlete then you should really aim for five hours a week.

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