The dangers of the sedentary lifestyleScience and technology have improved our lives in so many different ways and this has had a dramatic impact on the very nature of work. Regardless of your chosen industry and career, there’s a very good chance that computers are playing an increasingly large role. And for many of us, this means sitting at a desk for hours on end.

Not only can this wreak havoc on our posture, it has also led to the widespread plague of the sedentary lifestyle. We can try to counteract the effects of sitting in front of a computer by going to the gym and being as active as possible outside of office hours, but how can you leverage technology to combat the sedentary lifestyle while at work too?

Try a Standing Desk or…

Working on an exercise bike

Working on an exercise bike

One way to escape the funk of sitting at a desk is not to sit at your desk at all. You’ve likely observed the rising popularity of standing desks in recent years. More people are getting elevated work spaces such that they stand at their computers. It helps you stay focused and the very act of standing burns far more calories than sitting.

If you want to step it up another notch, there are even more aggressive solutions to be had. The FitDesk 2.0 shown above is one such example, replacing the regular “desk” with an exercise bike hybrid. There are also desks with integrated treadmills and other more “active” options.

Stay Accountable with Fitness Tracking

Tracking steps with Google Fit on Android

Tracking steps with Google Fit on Android

There is a notion in psychology called the Hawthorne effect which states that people will act differently if they know they’re being watched. This is also true even if it’s you who is doing the watching. Combined with a little gamification, a great way to overcome the sedentary lifestyle is with a fitness tracker.

You have many options here, like those from Jawbone and Fitbit, or you can simply use the Google Fit application that’s already on your Android smartphone. When you see that you’re consistently missing your step goal each day, you’ll be far more motivated to get up and do something about it.

Remind Yourself with Pomodoros

Remember to get up after every pomodoro

Remember to get up after every pomodoro

Staying focused and being really productive can also have a dark side, because you can spend hours sitting at your desk without moving anything but your fingers on that keyboard. Sometimes, you just need a reminder to get up and move around.

We had previously discussed the Pomodoro Technique in a recent article. The idea is that you take a 5-minute break after a 25-minute work session. You can use a web-based tool like Tomato-Timer.com or even find some that integrate with kanban boards and other workflow management solutions.

Talk with a Wireless Headset

Fight the sedentary lifestyle with Bluetooth

Fight the sedentary lifestyle with Bluetooth

If you’re in a line of work where you can be on the telephone for extended periods of time, you can feel like you are shackled to that landline (or Skype call). Free yourself with a wireless headset like the Jabra MOTION UC Bluetooth Headset. This way, you can get up from your desk and move around. This has the added benefit of the “walk and talk” dynamic, because as an old saying once went, “motion creates emotion” and you’ll have a more effective call too.

Use the Analog Approach

Walk over and talk in person

Walk over and talk in person

I realize there is a subtle irony here when discussing technology tips for battling a sedentary lifestyle and the final piece of advice is to put technology aside. It’s a bit of a strange truth, but it’s one that really comes down to making a conscious decision to be more active and make more active choices in your life.

Rather than simply sending a text message or e-mail to the co-worker whose desk is down the hall, actually get up from your desk and walk over there to talk face-to-face. And yes, the old piece of advice about taking the stairs instead of the elevator applies too, just like choosing to park further away or choosing to stand while taking public transit. Consciously decide not to sit.

Image credits: Mike Lewis, John Joh / Flickr

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