When the snow blows and the temperature drops, your soul may tell you to stock up on comfort food and settle in for a bit of semi-hibernation. Your doctor, however, probably disagrees.
As much as terrible weather can take the wind out of anyone's sails when it comes to maintaining a fit and active lifestyle, unfortunately the serious negative effects of sitting all day don't skip the winter months. Despite the chill, we all still need to find ways to keep moving.
Walking meetings may be out (unless you're both very hardy northern types), and no doubt you've already thought of the obvious solutions such as hitting your (well heated) gym more frequently or even overhauling your office to use a standing desk. But according to a clever little post on the TED blog recently, there are plenty of other, smaller ways to sneak a bit more movement into your days that you may not have already considered.
After all, recent research shows that getting up for just five minutes at a time occasionally throughout the day can mitigate some of the worst health consequences of a desk job, so even small changes can have big impacts. So try these little ways to keep your body in motion despite the freezing cold:
1. Get a wobble board
TED grabs this idea from Brain Pickings' Maria Popova. "I work barefoot, standing on a wobble board," she explained to Lifehacker. "It might sound crazy, but it actually helps you balance your posture much more evenly than just standing on your feet, in which case you inevitably shift your weight to one leg or the other, subtly twisting your spine. With the wobble board, so long as you have a single touch point--like a finger on the keyboard--it becomes incredibly easy to balance, and you're forced by gravity into perfect alignment."
2. Move the printer (or the garbage can)
Could anything be easier? Simply rejigging where you put oft-used elements of your office to ensure they aren't conveniently within arm's reach can force you to stand up and stretch at least periodically, TED's post points out. Time to move the printer.
Or how about getting rid of individual trash cans at desks? Etsy found that doing this not only boosted recycling and presumably encouraged more movement, but also had positive effects on company culture.
3. Stand up to connect
Sure, that spin around the local park with your colleague or client might not sound so appealing in the wintertime, but the basic idea of combining connecting with people and getting off your butt still holds. You'll just need to modify your approach a bit. For instance, "Use a headset for phone calls so you can walk around," the TED post suggests, or just opt to walk across the office to ask that quick question rather than shooting off an email.
Another idea? Take the chairs out of the conference room. Not only are standing meetings an opportunity to slip in some movement, they're also less likely to go on excessively long and can actually boost both teamwork and creativity, according to research.
What's your top trick for staying active in winter?