Sitting in the Office All Day: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The good: working eight hours-or even more-a day at the office can certainly fatten your wallet. Unfortunately, your waist can pack on some fat too. And that’s just the start of it. Sitting in the office all day can go from bad to ugly. Because let’s face it, the work isn’t that physical, right? Shooting a crumpled paper into a trash bin across the room doesn’t count as exercise. However, if you do make that shot-cool! Nice Steph Curry impersonation.

Seriously though, here’s what being sedentary in the office can do to you in the long run. First, the bad:

· Makes enzymes lazy. The body has fat breaking enzymes. When you sit around all day, the enzymes become couch potatoes and their fat-breaking efficiency drops by a whopping 90 percent.

· Calorie-burning goes slow-mo. It’s not just the enzymes which become sluggish. When your body senses you have limited activity, it goes into what can be described in the computer sense as ‘sleep mode.’ That’s great when you’re stuck at sea and have nothing to eat. Your body will oh so slowly burn fat to save energy, to the point where calorie-burning drops off to a per minute basis. But in the office setting, you become fat because the calories you ate from that heavy breakfast or lunch buffet won’t get burned effectively.

You’re pretty confident, you can counteract the bad. And what’s a few extra pounds, right? Just loosen up your belt. But things do get ugly:

· Increases diabetes risk. Your body’s ability for insulin effectiveness also takes a plunge. It drops by 24 percent, which increases your chances of diabetes.

· Electrical activity slacks. Ever feel like your leg fell asleep when you haven’t moved it for so long? Then you feel all prickly when you move it again? It’s called paresthesia. Your nerves are temporarily restricted, causing trouble in the electrical activity of certain body parts. However, sitting too much and too long can make this chronic.

· Leads to back problems. For many athletes, back problems are common, because, well, they’re active. But it’s also common among office people. Why? Sitting in front of a desktop all day causes many to slump, slouch or generally ruin their posture. When this happens, flexibility, joint and spine health is compromised. And that’s how you get back pains even though you don’t play like your LeBron James on your spare time.

Okay, enough about the bad and the ugly. The good news is you can counteract the nasty effects of a sedentary office life by making simple adjustments. Just follow these tips:

· Five for 30. Even the slightest physical movement can help you, so remember this advice: five for 30. Stand for five minutes for every half an hour you spent sitting. If you can walk around, that’s better. Stretch your legs too.

· Office exercises. Obviously, you can’t do jumping jacks at the office. But you can do some stealthy exercises. Try the following: Put your palms together in front of you as if you’re praying. Push them together as hard as you can. This exercises your shoulders, upper back and forearms. Another is lifting your heels and pointing your toes. Hold that pose for 10 seconds. That’s one rep. Do as many as you like. Also, remember to engage your core all throughout the day. It’s like doing a plank while sitting.

· Cardio office-style. At the office, take a few flight of stairs in the morning. At the day’s end, go crazy and take more flights since you’ll be going home anyway.

· Walk it all off. Even the simplest of physical activities can help you shrug off the office blues and keep you more fit. Walking for 30 minutes a day, for instance, can quickly be beneficial to your health. Done regularly, it can help you normalize your blood pressure, lose weight, prevent certain diseases and improve your stamina.

· Exercise at home even for 15 minutes. Lace up your running shoes-Reebok, known for its workout shoes is a good choice-and exercise at home. If you have an elliptical trainer or treadmill hop on even for just 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes too much for a busy you? How about a total body workout for seven or ten minutes? I’m pretty sure you can easily find the seven-minute workout in the Internet.

· Don’t. Always. Sit. At. Home. What’s the point in counteracting the bad effects when you’ll be sitting at your couch at home again? Stand when you’re doing stuff. Walk around. Jog in place.

Now you know the good, the bad and the ugly, you’ll be more motivated to keep fit despite your busy schedule.