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How to discover individual strengths and develop a strong team
Did you know that sitting is now considered the new smoking? That’s right… it has been said that sitting for five hours a day is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes when it comes to our health. And seeing that people are seated approximately 9.3 hours a day, we may have an epidemic on our hands.A study out of Britain’s University of Leicester found that adults who sit most of the day have a 147% increased risk of heart attack or stroke and a 112% increased risk of developing diabetes. Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society conducted a 14-year study focused on health outcomes and found that women who sit for more than six hours each day were 40% more likely to die during the course of the study, and men sitting for the same period of time were 20% more likely to die. Talk about motivation to get up and move.

But even with the best intentions, a deskbound job can make this nearly impossible, right? Not so fast… keep reading for some simple tips to add some activity to even the most sedentary of jobs.

Changing work environments
With more and more of the population focusing on health, how is it that inactivity and obesity is climbing? Some people may argue that technology is a large contributing factor. Others blame it on TV, soda and fast food. But, consider this— within recent memory, Canadians got in almost all of their physical activity at work, as most jobs required at least some form of physical activity. But now our jobs are much more sedentary. Statistics from south of the border really put the shift into perspective: in 1960, one in two Americans had a physically active job. Today, only one in five does. The reliance of today’s workforce on the Internet and email has turned what used to be light duty jobs into completely sedentary ones.

But just because a job is sedentary doesn’t mean employees have to be. There are many ways to add activity to daily work life. Kick off a “get up and move” initiative in your agency or even with the clients you serve. Here are some helpful tips to get started:

  • Stand:  We think of desks as a place to sit and do work… but that’s old school thinking. Adjust desks to standing height. Standing can increase blood flow, boost metabolism and burn 50% more calories than sitting. Plus, standing has been known to alleviate back pain, increase core strength and boost energy.
  • Stability balls:  Replacing chairs with an exercise stability ball can be a great way to promote movement. Exercise balls can build muscle, improve posture and increase energy. Plus, a stability ball forces its occupant to constantly adjust positions (i.e. move) in order to maintain balance.
  • Walk:  There are a slew of ways to increase one’s footsteps at work. Send documents to a printer down the hall instead of the one closest to the desk. Or promote the utilization of good old face-to-face communication in lieu of email or instant message. Bypass the conference room for meetings and hold “walk and talk” meetings instead. Or if you really want to dive in, consider having “walk-stations” or treadmill desks. Pedometers can be a great way to track how many steps are taken each day, and they can give a baseline for improvement.
  • Stretch:  Stretching can really help to alleviate the aches and pains associated with sitting all day.Plus, it’s a great excuse to get up and move. Set calendar notifications or use a timer as a reminder to get up and stretch. Encourage employees to stand, loosen up, move their legs, roll their necks and wiggle their fingers and toes. The importance isn’t so much in the stretching technique as it is in just getting up and moving.

Whatever methods of movement you choose for your movement initiative, kick it off big. Provide water bottles, custom messaged silicone bracelets and awareness Ribbon Grip Pens to promote your message throughout your agency as visual reminders that you’re committed to getting your team moving; they’ll thank you for it.

The Danger of Our Sedentary Society.” Global Public Square RSS. N.p., 14 Mar. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2013.

Tate, Ryan. “In Silicon Valley, Sitting Is the New Smoking.” Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, 25 Feb. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2013.

Picard, André. “Why the Sedentary Life Is Killing Us.” The Globe and Mail. 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 17 April 2013.

Hudson, William. “Sitting for Hours Can Shave Years off Life.” CNN. Cable News Network, 24 June 2011. Web. 01 Apr. 2013.

Parker-Pope, Tara. “SEDENTARY WORK CITED AS FACTOR IN RISING OBESITY.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 26 May 2011. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

IamBee. “Tips for Making a Sedentary Job More Active.” Helium. Helium, 10 Oct. 2012. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

Quora. “What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Standing Desks?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 16 July 2012. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

Cespedes, Andrea. “How to Sit on a Balance Ball at Your Desk.” LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., 23 July 2010. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

Lukatch, Mark. “In Silicon Valley, Sitting Is the New Smoking.” Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, 25 Feb. 0013. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

Deardorff, Julie. “Sedentary Office Workers Try Standing Desks.” Chicagotribune.com. N.p., 8 Aug. 2012. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

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