Ekahi Ornish Lifestyle Medicine
Dumbell weights

by Robert Walker, Program Director at ‘Ekahi

“The more we move, the more we improve.” Research over the last decade has shown time and time again that lack of physical activity can correlate with disease. But that doesn’t mean an hour of hard exercise at the gym is all you need. A recent report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sedentary behavior may diminish or eliminate the benefits we get from an hour a day of exercise. But by changing our daily behavior to incorporate regular movement, we can lower our risk of cardiac disease and improve our physical fitness.

The researchers in the study recommended moving every 30 minutes. But with the prolonged hours we spend at the office, when do we find time to move? We’ve gathered some tips to achieve this goal at your desk!*

  • Keep small weights in or under your desk and do an arm routine during a break. Muscle-building is important for everyone. In fact, in seniors’ strength is linked to better cognitive function, according to a Finnish study published in June in European Geriatric Medicine.
  • Consider exercise bands, which take up less room than weights, and are more versatile. You can use a band for both arm and leg exercises. You can also snap it at your co-workers as they go by or use it as a sling! (Okay, maybe not.)
  • You could use a peddler under your desk—you’ll keep blood flowing to your legs.

For those times when you won’t take a real break every half hour, at least stand and stretch every 15 minutes.

If you have back problems and standing is better for you, you might try a stand-up or adjustable desk. You’ll also want to move, since standing can be hard on your back and legs.

By finding those few minutes in between meetings or phone calls, you’ll reap the benefits of increased fitness – better mood, a reduction in anxiety and depression, and a reduced risk for cardiac disease. So next time you find yourself at your desk for too long – get up and move more! 

*Fitness tips provided by Ornish Living Magazine