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Desk Jockeys Urged to Take Small Steps to Get Exercise

FRIDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Spending long hours at your desk may boost your work productivity, but it can harm your health, an expert warns.

There's growing evidence that the more time you spend sitting each day, the greater your risk of heart disease. Your spine, shoulders and hips may also suffer.

"It's important to get up and move around throughout the day," occupational therapist Julia Henderson-Kalb said in a Saint Louis University Medical Center news release. "Exercise not only helps with how you feel physically, but it also improves your mind and your memory."

It may not be possible for you to go to the gym at lunchtime, but making small changes to your daily work routine can help protect your health, she said.

Henderson-Kalb offered the following suggestions:

  • Sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair will strengthen your abdominal and back muscles, and improve your posture.
  • If possible, walk around while you talk on the phone.
  • A timer or alarm set to go off hourly can help you remember to take a moment to stand and stretch.
  • Choose the stairs whenever possible, and use the restrooms on another floor.
  • Avoid the parking spots closest to the building.
  • Wear a pedometer and plan to take between 6,000 and 10,000 steps per day.
  • Keep light weights or exercise bands at your desk to help squeeze in an exercise break.
  • Bring your lunch to work. The time you save can be used for a quick walk or workout.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Saint Louis University Medical Center, news release, Feb. 20, 2012

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